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Liberty Men's and Women's Harriers Move Up in Regional Poll After Pre-Nationals

October 15, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Freshmen Dacia Bushman (left) and Kati Albright have both excelled in their first collegiate cross country seasons.

Freshmen Dacia Bushman (left) and Kati Albright have both excelled in their first collegiate cross country seasons.

The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams have both moved up in their respective U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Regional polls, after strong showings at Pre-Nationals on Saturday. The men's team is now No. 6 in the region, while the Lady Flames bumped up six spots, to a season-high No. 9.

Led by senior Josh McDougal (Peru, N.Y.), who won the Pre-Nationals white race in an 8K course-record time of 22:56.4, the Liberty men's cross country team placed 17th on Saturday. The Flames' effort, which also included top-50 finishes by Jordan McDougal (R-Jr., Peru, N.Y.) and Jarvis Jelen (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.), prompted voters to move Liberty up two spots from its previous ranking of No. 8. Head coach Brant Tolsma's squad had been ranked as high as No. 4 in the region, earlier this season. N.C. State, who placed third in the white race, sits atop the current regional poll.

The Flames will be off this weekend, before attempting to defend their Big South Conference title, Oct. 27 at Hendersonville, N.C. Liberty, who has won the last two Big South championships, is the only conference squad listed in this week's regional rankings.

The Lady Flames are one of two Big South teams appearing in the women's regional poll. Coastal Carolina sits two spots behind Liberty, at No. 11. Liberty edged the Chanticleers for the 2006 Big South cross country title, and the two teams appear destined for another duel on Oct. 27.

Liberty's big jump in the regional rankings came courtesy of the Lady Flames' 23rd-place finish in the Pre-Nationals 6K white race. Piper Newby (Sr., Hayden Lake, Idaho) spearheaded the Liberty contingent on Saturday, knocking nine seconds off her own school record with a 21:22.5. Meanwhile, Dacia Bushman (Fr., Castalia, Iowa) fashioned one of the finest freshman performances in program history, placing 96th out of 235 runners, in 21:43.2.

USTFCCCA Division I Men's Cross Country Poll
Southeast Region

1) N.C. State
2) Virginia
3) Louisville
4) William & Mary
5) Virginia Tech
6) Liberty
7) Eastern Kentucky
8) Duke
9) Kentucky
10) Clemson
11) Appalachian State
12) Richmond
13) Wake Forest
14) George Mason
15) North Carolina

USTFCCCA Division I Women's Cross Country Poll
Southeast Region
1) Virginia Tech
2) N.C. State
3) Kentucky
4) North Carolina
5) Virginia
6) Wake Forest
7) Louisville
8) Duke
9) Liberty
10) William & Mary
11) Coastal Carolina
12) Richmond
13) Charlotte
14) Davidson
15) Clemson