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Liberty XC Squads Set For Big South Meet

October 30, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty men's cross country team will compete for its fifth consecutive Big South Championship on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Liberty men's cross country team will compete for its fifth consecutive Big South Championship on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Liberty men's cross country team will compete for its fifth straight Big South Championship, Saturday morning, in Winston-Salem, N.C. The men's 8K conference championship is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. at Shady Oaks Kennel. The Lady Flames, who won the 2009 Big South Preview meet at the same venue, will compete in the 5K event at 11:30 a.m.

Liberty's Sam Chelanga, the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championship runner-up and 2008 Big South Cross Country Runner of the Year, finished first overall in last year's meet with a time of 24:32.97, marking the fifth straight year a Liberty runner has won the event. Current Flames runners Jake Reed and Mark Hopely finished 10th and 14th, respectively.

In addition, Evans Kigen, who finished second overall at this year's Big South Preview, is a two-time Big South champion. He won the steeplechase and 5K titles at the 2008 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship.

The men's team, ranked No. 15 in the Southeast Region, finished second overall behind VMI at the Big South Preview on Sept. 19.

On the women's side, Liberty finished second behind Coastal Carolina by a one-point margin in last year's Big South Championship. It was the third consecutive close finish at the Big South meet, after the Lady Flames won the conference title by five points in 2006, and by a three-point margin in 2007.

Liberty's Dacia Bushman finished 11th in last year's meet with a time of 19:13.24, and placed sixth in 2007, when she was named the Big South Freshman of the Year. Hannah Hunt crossed the line 15th, the third-fastest freshman in last year's event, while classmate Denise Troyer finished 17th overall. Katie Albright has also experienced success at the conference level before, coming in eighth at the 2007 Big South Cross Country Championship and winning the mile at the 2009 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championship.

At this year's Big South Preview, the women's team claimed three of the top five spots, as Bushman finished second, while Hailey Neal and Jennifer Klugh were third and fifth, respectively.