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Men's, Women's XC Teams Ranked Regionally
The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams are both ranked in the Southeast Region to start the 2011 season, as announced today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Lady Flames open the year in the No. 12 spot, while the men's team is ranked No. 15.
Head coach Brant Tolsma's women's team, recently tabbed as the Big South Conference preseason favorite, is the only conference squad included in the regional rankings. The women's Southeast Region listing features seven ACC teams in the top eight spots, led by No. 1 Duke and No. 2 North Carolina.
Redshirt junior Jennifer Klugh returns to lead the Lady Flames after winning the Big South individual cross country title and placing 15th in the Southeast Region in 2010. She will be complemented by junior Khristina Kanagy and promising freshman Jacy Christiansen.
On the men's side, the Flames are one of two Big South teams ranked regionally to start the year. Big South preseason favorite High Point checks in at No. 11. N.C. State and Louisville are listed No. 1 and 2, respectively, in this week's poll.
Redshirt junior David Ricksecker and sophomore Josh MacDonald are the top two returnees on a new-look Liberty men's squad. Transfer Zac Edwards and freshman Ngetich Kipchirchir are also expected to figure prominently in the Flames' lineup.
The top two teams in each region will earn automatic berths to the 2011 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., where they will be joined by 13 at-large teams from across the nation. This year's NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championship will be contested in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 12.
Liberty will get a look at another regionally-ranked foe right away, at Friday's season-opening Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. The host Hokies are ranked No. 7 regionally on the men's side and No. 8 in the women's regional rankings.
Friday's meet will start with a women's 4K race at 6 p.m. The men's 6K race will follow at 6:45.
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Southeast Region Men's Cross Country Rankings
1) N.C. State
4) Eastern Kentucky
5) North Carolina
6) William & Mary
7) Virginia Tech
9) Wake Forest
10) George Mason
11) High Point
12) Appalachian State
13) Norfolk State
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Southeast Region Women's Cross Country Rankings
2) North Carolina
4) N.C. State
5) James Madison
7) Wake Forest
8) Virginia Tech
9) William & Mary
14) Western Kentucky
15) George Mason