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Big South Champion Flames Move Up in Region

October 29, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty celebrates its eighth consecutive Big South Conference men's cross country team championship.

After winning its eighth consecutive Big South title, the Liberty men's cross country team moved up to No. 13 in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region poll. Meanwhile, the Big South champion Lady Flames are listed at No. 15 in the region.

Liberty is joined by Big South runner-up High Point (No. 14) in the men's Southeast Region rankings. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames are the lone Big South squad listed in the final edition of the Southeast Region poll prior to the Nov. 9 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships.

The Liberty men's team was victorious at Saturday's Big South Cross Country Championships in Rock Hill, S.C., thanks to a combination of impressive front-running and incredible depth. David Ricksecker, Caleb Edmonds and Ngetich Kipchirchir finished second, third and fourth, respectively, with Kipchirchir being named Big South Freshman of the Year. Meanwhile, Will Templeton (seventh place), Jeremie Bourget (12th), Sam Hibbs (13th) and Zach Barker (14th) made it seven Flames in the top 14, four of whom were freshmen.

As a result, Liberty defeated runner-up High Point by 21 points, 28-49. It was the Flames' largest margin of victory since 2008. Liberty has now captured 14 Big South men's cross country titles in its 22 seasons as a conference member.

The Lady Flames enjoyed their largest margin of victory at the Big South meet since their very first season in the conference, 1991. Liberty took a 32-point win over Coastal Carolina, by a score of 40-72, marking the Lady Flames' fifth Big South crown in seven years.

Redshirt senior Jennifer Klugh won her third straight Big South women's cross country individual title, finishing the 5K race in a school-record time of 17:18.72. She was one of four Lady Flames to earn All-Big South honors, joining Khristina Kanagy (seventh place), Jacy Christiansen (eighth) and Betel Yosef (ninth).

Liberty's next race will be the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships, scheduled for Nov. 9 at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C. The women's 6K race will begin at noon, followed by the men's 10K at 1:15 p.m. The meet will determine the region's qualifiers for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

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

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