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McDougal Captures Third Pre-Nationals Title in Record-Breaking Fashion; Newby Sets Women's School Record
McDougal's (Peru, N.Y.) win and the strong efforts of Liberty's No. 2 and 3 runners, Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) and Jarvis Jelen (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.), enabled the Flames to finish 17th out of 40 entrants in the white race, with 449 points. UTEP, sporting five of the top 38 finishers, upset No. 3 Colorado, 129-155, to win the team title. Tenth-ranked N.C. State came in third, with 182 points. Coastal Carolina, the only other Big South team in the field, took 37th place.
The Lady Flames used the solid 1-2 punch of Newby and freshman Dacia Bushman (Castalia, Iowa) to claim 23rd place in the 35-team field, with 624 points. No. 8 Princeton held off No. 6 Arizona State by a 149-171 count to capture the white race's team crown. No. 13 Michigan came in third, tallying 173 points.
Prior to Saturday's blue and white men's races, which featured a combined 26 nationally-ranked squads, McDougal owned the two fastest 8K times ever run at the site of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, topped by a 23:12.6 from 2005. Taking advantage of nearly perfect running conditions and a dry, hard course, Northern Arizona's Lopez Lomong (23:02.3) and Villanova's Bobby Curtis (23:09.4) both eclipsed McDougal's mark during the blue race, Saturday morning.
The stage was then set for McDougal and Eastern Kentucky senior Jacob Korir to renew their cross country rivalry from the 2006 season. McDougal won close races against Korir at the Greater Louisville Classic and Pre-Nationals last year, before Korir defeated McDougal at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. This time around, the pair quickly proved themselves to be the class of the field in the white race, taking a clear lead by the 5K split (14:29). McDougal had a bit more left in reserve for the final sprint, and edged Korir by four seconds at the finish line.
McDougal, who is now 15-for-15 in collegiate invitationals, set a course record for the 12th time during his four years at Liberty. His previous best 8K clocking was his 23:12.6 effort at Pre-Nationals in 2005.
Jordan McDougal steadily worked his way up through the pack, ending up in 30th place with a time of 23:49.5, his best effort since 2005. Jelen followed closely behind, stopping the clock at a personal-best 24:00.9, good for the 43rd spot out of 270 finishers. Only three other teams in the white race (UTEP, Colorado and N.C. State) had three runners come in at 24:00 or faster.
Josh Edmonds (So., Cooperstown, N.Y.) dipped under 25 minutes for the first time in his career, placing 154th in 24:59.5. Cory Reed (Fr., Eldred, N.Y.) came in at 25:42, also a personal-best, to round out Liberty's scorers. Redshirt freshman Jordan Whitlock (Elmhurst, Ill.) completed the Flames' contingent, running a 27:08.3 and taking 263rd place.
Newby (Hayden Lake, Idaho) had set the Liberty 6K record during her breakthrough 2006 campaign, clocking a 21:31.4 at Pre-Nationals. In her return visit to Terre Haute, Newby finished well, passing 33 runners in the second half of the race to finish 63rd out of 235 finishers. Her official time was 21:22.5.
Bushman finished as Liberty's No. 2 runner for the second-straight meet to open her Lady Flame career, with a time of 21:43.2, which put her in 96th place. Like Newby, Rebekah Ricksecker (Jr., Laurel, Del.) moved her way through the pack in the race's latter stages. She ended up 123rd and lopped 27 seconds off her 6K personal best with a 22:01.8.
Freshman Kati Albright (Wake Forest, N.C.) took 160th place in her 6K debut, crossing the line in 22:36.2. Completing the Lady Flames' top five was Rachel Valliere (Sr., San Luis Obispo, Calif.), a transfer making her debut in a Liberty uniform. Valliere, who began her career at Cal Poly, was 182nd, in a time of 22:55.1.
Also competing for Liberty on Saturday were Carol Jefferson (Sr., Schwenksville, Pa.), who finished 208th in 23:40.4 and Ashley Osborne (Jr., Bristol, Va.), 213th in 23:56.3.
Liberty will take a weekend off before competing in the New Balance Big South Conference Cross Country Championships on Oct. 27. The meet will be hosted by UNC Asheville, at Jackson Park in Hendersonville, N.C. The Flames will aim for their third-consecutive Big South title, while the Lady Flames will seek to defend their 2006 conference crown. Individually, Josh McDougal could become the first runner in Big South history to win the conference meet four times.
Men's 8K White Race
Individual Finishers (270 total finishers in race):
1) Josh McDougal, 22:56.4 (Liberty, Big South, Course Record)
2) Jacob Korir, Eastern Kentucky, 23:00.6
3) Stephen Pifer, Colorado, 23:16.7
4) Brent Vaughn, Colorado, 23:16.8
5) Patrick Smyth, Notre Dame, 23:18.2
30) Jordan McDougal, 23:49.5
43) Jarvis Jelen, 24:00.9
154) Josh Edmonds, 24:59.5
221) Cory Reed, 25:42.0
263) Jordan Whitlock, 27:08.3
Team Standings (40 total teams in race):
1) UTEP, 129
2) Colorado, 155
3) N.C. State, 182
4) Michigan, 208
5) Notre Dame, 261
17) Liberty, 449
Women's 6K White Race
Individual Finishers (235 total finishers in race):
1) Jenny Barringer, Colorado, 19:48.3
2) Brianna Felnagle, North Carolina, 19:56.7
3) Diane Nukuri, Iowa, 20:10.3
4) Angela Bizzarri, Illinois, 20:13.4
5) Lisa Koll, Iowa State, 20:15.2
63) Piper Newby, 21:22.5 (Liberty Record)
96) Dacia Bushman, 21:43.2
123) Rebekah Ricksecker, 22:01.8
160) Kati Albright, 22:36.2
182) Rachel Valliere, 22:55.1
208) Carol Jefferson, 23:40.4
213) Ashley Osborne, 23:56.3
Team Standings (35 total teams in race):
1) Princeton, 149
2) Arizona State, 171
3) Michigan, 173
4) Washington, 187
5) Illinois, 189
23) Liberty, 624