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2012 Liberty Cross Country Schedule Announced

June 19, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Two-time defending Big South individual champion Jennifer Klugh and the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will open the 2012 season Aug. 31 at Longwood.

2012 Liberty Cross Country Schedule

The 2012 Liberty men's and women's cross country schedule was released today, featuring the teams' first trip to the Notre Dame Invitational since 2007 and meets in five different states.

Liberty will get a look at the newest Big South Conference member right off the bat, traveling east on Route 460 for the season-opening Longwood Invitational on Aug. 31. It will be the Flames' first meet at Longwood since the 2007 Longwood Invitational.

The Flames and Lady Flames will then take part in the Big South Preview on Sept. 15. The meet will be hosted by Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C., at the site of the 2012 Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships.

Liberty will face a strong challenge at the Sept. 28 Notre Dame Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind. Last season, the meet featured six nationally-ranked women's squads and eight nationally-ranked men's teams. Assistant coach Josh McDougal was a senior the last time the Flames competed in this meet (2007) and captured the individual title in the men's blue race.

Two schedule options are listed for the Oct. 12/13 weekend. If Liberty chooses to attend the Oct. 12 Blue Ridge Open in Boone, N.C., the Flames and Lady Flames could match up against a lot of conference foes, two weeks before the Big South meet. A year ago, seven Big South teams and conference newcomer Longwood raced at the Blue Ridge Open.

Alternatively, Liberty could join many of the nation's top programs at the Pre-Nationals meet on Oct. 13 in Louisville, Ky. The meet will be held at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, the site of the 2012 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

As previously mentioned, Winthrop will host the Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships on Oct. 27. This will be the first time the Eagles have hosted the meet since 2004. That year, McDougal captured his first of four straight Big South men's individual titles as a freshman.

The Liberty men's squad will attempt to win its unprecedented eighth consecutive Big South team title. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames will try to return to the top of the conference after placing second to High Point in 2011. Liberty's reigning Big South individual champions, Zac Edwards and Jennifer Klugh, will both be back to defend their titles in Rock Hill.

McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. will be the venue for the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 9. The meet will determine the team and individual qualifiers for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

Liberty raced at McAlpine Park at the 2011 Charlotte Invitational and found the course much to its liking. Edwards won the men's individual title and Klugh set a new Liberty cross country 5K record with her 17:28.3 clocking.

For the first time, Louisville will host the 2012 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The Nov. 17 meet will mark the first time since 2003 that the NCAA championship will be contested outside Terre Haute, Ind.

Liberty is quite familiar with the course at Louisville, as five of the last six NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships have been held there. The school record for the women's 6K was established by Klugh at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, when she ran 20:55.5 at the 2010 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championship.