(L-R): Kat Bouton, Terrill Zentmeyer, Caroline Parris and Meredith Mistretta have been four of the Lady Flames' top cross country runners this fall.
Meet Information Live Results Women's 6K Course Map Men's 8K Course Map Panorama Farms Information Earlysville Weather LUGameday Twitter The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will face their toughest competition thus far in the 2014 season at Friday morning's Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. A bevy of nationally and regionally-ranked teams are entered in the meet at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va. The women's 6K will start at 10 a.m., followed by the men's 8K race at 11.
How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames Live results will be available during both of Friday's races, courtesy of Flash Results, Inc.
Periodic updates will also be provided via Twitter at @LUGameday.
Weather Report Friday morning's weather should be rather pleasant for distance running, with the temperature in the 60s under partly cloudy skies.
Scouting the Competition The 10-team women's field is headlined by national No. 10 Virginia and No. 26 William & Mary, the first and second-place finishers from the 2013 Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Five other entrants are regionally ranked, including Arizona (No. 6 West), Auburn (No. 6 South), Furman (No. 7 Southeast), Wake Forest (No. 8 Southeast) and Bucknell (No. 13 Mid-Atlantic). High Point, coming off of a team title at the Gardner-Webb XC Invitational, is also slated to compete on Friday.
On the men's side, all 12 squads are ranked regionally, while No. 12 Iona and No. 13 Virginia appear in this week's national rankings. The ranked teams within the Southeast Region will be well represented by Virginia (No. 2), William & Mary (No. 5), Duke (No. 8), High Point (No. 9), Liberty (No. 10), Furman (No. 12), Wake Forest (No. 13) and Clemson (No. 14). Auburn (No. 2 in the South Region), Bucknell (No. 9 Mid-Atlantic) and Arizona (No. 11 West) round out the competitive field.
Checking Out the Course The looping, undulating terrain of Panorama Farms is quite familiar to the Liberty cross country teams. Friday's meet will be the Flames' fifth race at Panorama Farms in the last two seasons and the second of the 2014 campaign. Liberty opened the year at the UVa Duals on Aug. 29, where both the men's and women's runners ran 4Ks.
A Look Back at Last Year Last season, the Liberty men's team placed sixth of 13 teams and the Lady Flames came in 12th out of 14 squads at the 2013 Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Leading the way individually were current Flames Josh MacDonald and Jacy Christiansen.
MacDonald clocked an 8K time of 23:59.3 for ninth place in the men's race, while Christiansen's 5K time of 17:58.2 netted 30th place in the women's competition. Both were named Big South Cross Country Runners of the Week as a result of their performances at Panorama Farms.
Step Up to 6K After opening the 2014 season with a 4K race at the UVa Duals and competing in a 5K at the Gardner-Webb XC Invitational, the Liberty women's cross country team will race its first 6K of the year on Friday.
The Lady Flames' most recent 6K competition, the 2013 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, also took place at Panorama Farms. That day, Jacy Christiansen clocked a personal-best time of 21:52.5 for 57th place overall and second place among Big South runners. Jessie Proehl, who served as Liberty's No. 2 runner in the race at 22:32.9, is expected to make her 2014 season debut on Friday.
Fourth Freshman Cameron Francis of Midlothian, Va., is entered in Friday's race and will be the fourth freshman to debut for the Liberty men's cross country team this fall, along with Graham Hansel, Titus Koech and Stalline Kurgat.
Two of the Flames' top three finishers at the Gardner-Webb XC Invitational were freshmen, as Koech placed an impressive third in his first collegiate competition and Kurgat came in 11th overall.
Conference Competition For the second straight meet, Liberty will face Big South rival High Point. The Panthers swept the men's and women's team titles at the Sept. 13 Gardner-Webb XC Invitational, while the Liberty men were second and the women came in third.
At the 2013 Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, both Liberty squads defeated High Point. On the men's side, the Flames placed sixth while the Panthers were 10th. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames edged High Point by a single point for the 12th position, 346-347.
Regional Rankings The top 14 places in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region men's cross country poll remained unchanged this week. Liberty still resides at No. 10, one spot behind High Point, while NC State continues to top the regional rankings.
Friday's results at Panorama Farms are likely to shake up next week's Southeast Region poll, with eight of the top 14 teams in the region entered in the meet.
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