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McDougal Wins in Season Debut at Notre Dame Invitational
Liberty senior Josh McDougal made a successful 2007 season debut, running to a seven-second victory, Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Cross Country Invitational, held at Notre Dame's nine-hole golf course. His efforts helped the Flames tie for ninth in the blue race, while the Lady Flames took runner-up honors in the gold race.
In the men's blue race, which featured six Top 25 teams, Liberty totaled 246 points, sharing ninth place with Illinois in the 23-team field. The Flames are ranked No. 4 in the Southeast Region.
The home squad from Notre Dame, ranked No. 12 nationally, won the men's blue race with 92 points. The Fighting Irish edged No. 9 N.C. State, which totaled 106 points, and No. 14 Providence, which accumulated 124 markers.
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames, came in second out of 27 squads in the gold race, with 147 points. Grand Valley State, ranked No. 3 in Division II, won the title after posting 126 points.
McDougal (Peru, N.Y.), a three-time cross country All-American, is now 14-for-14 all-time in collegiate invitationals, after clocking a winning time of 23:37. On Friday, he gapped the rest of the field by the two-mile pole and was never seriously challenged the remainder of the way on the five-mile route. Notre Dame junior All-American Patrick Smyth came in second, in 23:44.
Younger brother Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) ran in the top five until the three-mile mark before dropping back to 27th place, finishing in 24:28. Liberty senior Jarvis Jelen (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was one of the runners who passed McDougal in the late stages. He came in 22nd, in a personal-best time of 24:24.
Sophomore Josh Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) sliced 30 seconds off his 8K personal best (8K is slightly shorter than five miles), crossing the line in 25:00 for 61st place out of 178 finishers. Rounding out the Liberty men's squad were a pair of newcomers. Freshman Cory Reed (Eldred, N.Y.) took 148th place, in a time of 26:28. Senior Kalib Wilkinson (Silverdale, Wash.), a transfer from Air Force, was right behind Reed, finishing 150th in 26:30.
A pair of runners from Big South rival High Point actually came in before the Lady Flames' No. 1 harrier, Piper Newby (Sr., Hayden Lake, Idaho), crossed the line in 18:02 for sixth place. However, Liberty's next four runners came in within the next 51 seconds, enabling the Lady Flames to defeat the Panthers, who placed 12th.
Lady Flame freshman Dacia Bushman (Castalia, Iowa) excelled in her collegiate debut, covering the 5K course in 18:27 and finishing 20th of 214. She was able to outkick veteran teammate Carol Jefferson (Sr., Schwenksville, Pa.) at the end, as Jefferson's 18:27 netted 22nd place.
Junior Rebekah Ricksecker (Laurel, Del.) came in next for Liberty, placing 47th in 18:46. Seven seconds later, debutant Kati Albright (Fr., Wake Forest, N.C.) closed out the Lady Flame scorers with a 53rd-place finish.
Also competing for Liberty were junior Ashley Osborne (Bristol, Va.), who took 65th place in a time of 18:59, and senior Jo Welch (Castro Valley, Calif.), who was 88th in 19:11.
The Liberty men's and women's harriers will have a weekend off, before traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13. The races will be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, the site of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Josh McDougal is the two-time defending individual champion at Pre-Nationals and owns the 8K course record of 23:12.6, set in 2005.
Men's Five-Mile Blue Race
Individual Finishers (178 total finishers in race):
1) Josh McDougal, 23:37
2) Patrick Smyth, Notre Dame, 23:44
3) Mike Woods, Michigan, 23:49
4) Max Smith, Providence, 23:54
5) Seth Pilkington, Weber State, 24:02
22) Jarvis Jelen, 24:24
27) Jordan McDougal, 24:28
61) Josh Edmonds, 25:00
148) Cory Reed, 26:28
150) Kalib Wilkinson, 26:30
Team Standings (23 total teams in race):
1) Notre Dame, 92
2) N.C. State, 106
3) Providence, 124
4) Michigan, 138
5) Florida State, 147
T9) Liberty, 246
T9) Illinois, 246
Women's 5K Gold Race
Individual Finishers (214 total finishers in race):
1) Laura Rolf, Valparaiso, 17:04
2) Ayla Mitchell, UW-Oshkosh, 17:50
3) Zsanett Kis, High Point, 17:56
4) Gwen Kemple, Anderson, 17:59
5) Kali Burt, High Point, 18:01
6) Piper Newby, 18:02
20) Dacia Bushman, 18:27
22) Carol Jefferson, 18:27
47) Rebekah Ricksecker, 18:46
52) Kati Albright, 18:53
65) Ashley Osborne, 18:59
88) Jo Welch, 19:11
Team Standings (27 total teams in race):
1) Grand Valley State, 126
2) Liberty, 147
3) Santa Clara, 164
4) Calvin, 174
5) Ball State, 177