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Kanagy-Klugh Duo Victorious at VT XC Relays

September 3, 2010
|  Blacksburg, Va.
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Jennifer Klugh (foreground) and Khristina Kanagy teamed up to win the women's two-person relay, Friday at the season-opening Virginia Tech Cross Country Relays.

Liberty got the 2010 cross country season off to a strong start, Friday afternoon at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Relays in Blacksburg, Va. The sophomore tandem of Khristina Kanagy and Jennifer Klugh won the women's two-person relay convincingly, while Josh MacDonald and David Ricksecker teamed up for a close second place in the men's race. No team scores were kept.

The women's race was the first to go off on a breezy afternoon featuring cooler-than-anticipated temperatures. The relay, which featured two-person squads from Liberty and Virginia Tech, as well as some unattached teams, saw each runner complete a pair of 2.5K legs.

Klugh was in second place, 12 seconds behind the lead runner from Virginia Tech, when she took the final handoff from Kanagy. The Buckeye State native quickly erased the deficit, and ended up crossing the line first by more than 32 seconds. Her split, the fastest of the afternoon, clocked 8:59.1, making the duo's total time 37:17.4. Klugh and Kanagy were the second women's relay squad to win in the last three years at this meet. Ashley Osborne and Rebekah Ricksecker took the title in 2008.

A senior (Rod'Esther Castor) paired up with a freshman (Katie Russo) to form the Lady Flames' second squad, which placed fourth overall out of the 16 participating relay units. The pairing finished with an overall time of 38:16.8 for 10K of running.

Individually, Klugh's two legs added up to 18:15.5 for the 5K, which outpaced all other women's runners by 14.5 seconds. Other top performers for the Lady Flames included Kanagy at 19:01.9, Russo at 19:06.9 and Castor at 19:10.0. Newcomer Lindsay Papet's two baton carries summed 19:40.1, making her the fifth-fastest Lady Flame on the afternoon.

The men's two-person relay featured a tight battle at the front of the pack throughout the 14K race. Veteran anchor legs Ricksecker and Josh Edmonds closed the gap well on the final 3.5K leg, but neither was able to catch Virginia Tech's victorious pairing of Jason Cusack and Ryan Hagen, which narrowly took top honors in 42:52.0.

The final splits by Ricksecker and Edmonds were the two fastest by any men's runner on Friday. Ricksecker clocked 10:39.0, leaving his team (which also featured freshman MacDonald) just one second out of first at 42:53.0. Meanwhile, Edmonds, teaming up with freshman brother Caleb Edmonds, finished up in 10:30.0 to give the duo an overall 43:05.1 for third place.

Adding up the men's splits, which totaled 7K, Josh Edmonds paced the 26 participating runners in 21:11.0. Ricksecker tied Virginia Tech's Hagen for second-fastest individual at 21:24.0. Liberty's next three fastest men's runners were all freshmen, including MacDonald at 21:29.0, Caleb Edmonds at 21:53.0 and Jarred Cornfield at 22:27.0.

Liberty will return to action in two weeks, when the Flames and Lady Flames will pay a visit to one of their Big South Conference rivals at the Coastal Carolina Invitational. The gun will go off for the first race at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.