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Liberty Women's XC Jumps to No. 9 in Region

October 1, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sophomore Meredith Mistretta has been the most-improved runner on the 2012 Lady Flames, lowering her cross country 5K personal best from 19:14 to 18:17.

On the strength of its showing at Friday's Notre Dame Invitational, the Liberty women's cross country team jumped from No. 15 to No. 9 in the Southeast Region, as announced today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Meanwhile, the Flames are ranked No. 14 in the Southeast Region men's poll.

This represents the Lady Flames' highest regional ranking since assistant coach Rebekah Ricksecker's senior cross country season. Liberty was also listed No. 9 in the Southeast Region on Sept. 15, 2008.
Meanwhile, head coach Brant Tolsma's men's squad flip-flopped places with Big South rival High Point. The Panthers now rank No. 13, with the Flames one spot behind.

There was significant movement atop both polls, with William & Mary taking over the women's No. 1 spot and Eastern Kentucky climbing to the men's top spot.

The Lady Flames finished 17th in a strong field in the women's 5K blue race at Notre Dame, with five of the team's seven runners achieving personal-best times. Redshirt senior Jennifer Klugh was Liberty's top finisher, placing 62nd in a time of 17:33. Classmate Khristina Kanagy followed in 17:44, finishing 79th.

The Liberty men's squad took 18th place in the men's five-mile blue race, finishing one spot ahead of national No. 26 Michigan. It was the Flames' first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent since the 2010 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. David Ricksecker made a successful season debut, clocking a time of 24:37 for 61st place. Ngetich Kipchirchir (70th place, 24:41) and Caleb Edmonds (71st place, 24:41) were close behind him.

Liberty will not compete this weekend. The Flames and Lady Flames will be back in action the following weekend, competing at the Royal Cross Country Challenge on Oct. 12. The women's 5K will begin at 3:30 p.m., followed by the men's 8K at 4:15.

The meet, hosted by Queens University of Charlotte, will take place at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. The same course will play host to the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 9.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Southeast Region Men's Cross Country Rankings
1) Eastern Kentucky
2) William & Mary
3) Virginia
4) N.C. State
5) Duke
6) North Carolina
7) Virginia Tech
8) Louisville
9) Wake Forest
10) George Mason
11) Davidson
12) Appalachian State
13) High Point
14) Liberty
15) Kentucky

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Southeast Region Women's Cross Country Rankings
1) William & Mary
2) N.C. State
3) North Carolina
4) Kentucky
5) Duke
6) Virginia
7) Clemson
8) Appalachian State
9) Liberty
10) Richmond
11) Eastern Kentucky
12) James Madison
13) Elon
14) East Carolina
15) Wake Forest