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MacDonald, Edwards Go 1-2 in XC Season Opener

September 2, 2011
|  Blacksburg, Va.
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Josh MacDonald (right) and Zac Edwards were the men's champion and runner-up, respectively, at Friday's Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational.

Liberty's Josh MacDonald and Zac Edwards swept the top two spots in the men's race, highlighting a successful beginning to the 2011 cross country season, Friday evening at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. Meanwhile, freshman Jacy Christiansen paced four Lady Flames inside the top 10 women's finishers.

The low-key meet, which was not team scored, featured runners from Liberty, host Virginia Tech and a collection of Virginia Tech alumni. Both races were affected by the weather, beginning with a thunderstorm which delayed the start of the women's race for more than 20 minutes. Later, a second thunderstorm descended upon the Blacksburg area just as the last men's runners were crossing the finish line.

Men's Race Recap
MacDonald, a sophomore, went out aggressively and led for most of the men's 6K race. He then held off teammate Edwards down the final straightaway for his first collegiate cross country victory. MacDonald's official time was 19:26.94, while Edwards followed closely in 19:28.71. Both Flames were more than 20 seconds clear of the third-place finisher in a dominating performance.

Liberty's next two men's finishers, both sophomores, also came in back-to-back positions. Jarred Cornfield finished eighth out of 32 runners in 20:12.87 with classmate Caleb Edmonds nabbing the ninth position in a time of 20:18.45.

Nate Jones (12th place, 20:37.73), David Ricksecker (14th, 20:50.48) and Isaac Wendland (15th, 20:50.69) closed out the Flames' top seven on a humid Friday.    

Women's Race Recap
Christiansen was actually the second collegiate finisher in the women's field of 28 runners, trailing only Virginia Tech's Mary Catherine Sowder in that category. Christiansen traversed the undulating 4K course in a time of 15:43.13 for fourth place overall.

Sophomore Katie Russo and junior Betel Yosef sprinted stride for stride in the closing meters, with Russo edging her teammate at the line. Russo took sixth place in 16:20.87, while Yosef was seventh in 16:21.34.

A pair of freshmen joined Christiansen inside the Lady Flames' top five, in the form of Stephanie Buda and Caroline Parris. Buda took 10th place with her 16:33.41 clocking, with Parris' 17:10.93 effort netting the 11th position.

Continuing the team's pattern, Liberty's No. 6 and 7 finishers also completed the race one right after another. Lyndi Fielitz placed 13th in 17:24.34, while Alyssa Allen grabbed the 14th spot overall in 17:31.01.

Liberty will return to action Sept. 17, when the Flames and Lady Flames travel to Conway, S.C. for the Coastal Carolina Invitational/Big South Preview. The meet, which will be contested at the 2011 Big South Cross Country Championships race course, will begin at 8:30 a.m.