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Cross Country Set for Friday's NCAA SE Regional

November 9, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Anna Van Wyk will look to build upon her Big South runner-up finish at Friday's NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships in Earlysville, Va.

Anna Van Wyk will look to build upon her Big South runner-up finish at Friday's NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships in Earlysville, Va.

Meet Informational Website

Live Results

Women's 6K Course Map

Men's 10K Course Map

Panorama Farms Information

Earlysville Weather

The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will make the short trek north on Route 29 to Earlysville, Va., for Friday's 2016 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. The meet at Panorama Farms will determine the qualifiers for the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

The women's 6K will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the men's 10K race at noon.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Admission to Panorama Farms is free of charge, but spectators will be charged a $5 parking fee.

Meanwhile, live results including in-race splits and team scores, will be available courtesy of Flash Results, Inc.

Weather Report
Friday's weather in Earlysville should be favorable for distance running, with the forecast calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. However, runners may face a headwind at times, with the wind blowing over 10 mph out of the northwest.

Checking Out the Course
Liberty has become familiar with the looping, undulating terrain of Panorama Farms, which is playing host to the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships for the second year in a row and the third time in four years. The Flames and Lady Flames began the 2016 season at the UVA Duals on Sept. 1.

No current Liberty runner is as well acquainted with Panorama Farms as senior Kat Bouton, who will be racing in Earlysville for the 10th time in her collegiate career on Friday. By the time she crosses the finish line of the 6K, Bouton will have completed 50 kilometers (approximately 31 miles) worth of races at Panorama Farms over the last four years.

How to Punch Your Ticket to Terre Haute
The common goal for all men's and women's teams competing at Panorama Farms on Friday is to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, to be contested Nov. 19 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Here's what it takes:

Team Qualification: The top two teams at each of Friday's nine regional meets will automatically advance to the national meet. The national field will then be filled with 13 at-large selections, comprising a total of 31 men's and 31 women's teams which will compete in Louisville. The at-large squads will be determined using a formula based upon head-to-head success against other national qualifiers during the regular season.

Individual Qualification: All runners who place in the top 25 at the regional meet earn all-region recognition and become eligible for advancement to Terre Haute. The national meet features 38 individual competitors not on advancing teams. The top four finishers from each regional meet who are not part of a national-qualifying squad will punch their ticket to Terre Haute. Then, two at-large individuals will be added to round out the national field.

In summary, the only people who will know for sure that they are bound for Terre Haute on Friday are the top two teams in each race and the first four individual finishers who are not part of one of those teams. The complete field of team and individual qualifiers to Terre Haute will be revealed Saturday on NCAA.com.

Women's 6K Preview
Team Outlook: Coming off of their first Big South title since 2012, the Lady Flames will seek their first top 15 regional finish since the 2012 squad placed 15th. Liberty has finished 19th at each of the last two NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships.

The Lady Flames return two of their top three finishers from last year's regional meet, in sophomore Anna Van Wyk (82nd place) and senior Lindsey Bray (138th place).

Liberty's seven-runner lineup for Friday's race features a mixture of youth and experience, with three seniors (Kat Bouton, Bray and Terrill Zentmeyer), two sophomores (Kammi Kurtz and Van Wyk) and two freshmen (Kelly Shaffer and Valerie Wierenga) set to compete.

All seven of Liberty's entrants placed inside the top 16 at the Big South Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28, including Van Wyk (runner-up), Zentmeyer (5th place), Kurtz (8th place), Wierenga (10th place), Bray (13th place), Shaffer (15th place) and Bouton (16th place).

Liberty will face long-time conference rival Coastal Carolina for the first time this season on Friday. The Chanticleers finished as the Sun Belt Conference runner-up two weeks ago.

Host Virginia is the defending women's team champion, but No. 2 NC State appears to be the team to beat after winning the ACC title.

Individual Outlook: Anna Van Wyk has enjoyed a stellar sophomore season and looks to improve significantly upon her 82nd-place regional finish from 2015.

The Minnesota native most recently finished as the Big South runner-up. She also clocked a 6K time of 21:43.0 at the ISU Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 15, marking the top 6K time by a Lady Flames sophomore since Jennifer Klugh ran 20:55.5 at the 2010 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships.

Klugh (2012) is one of three Lady Flames ever to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, along with Heather Sagan (2000 and 2001) and Ednah Kurgat (2015).

Friday's top individual contenders could include the CAA (William & Mary's Regan Rome) and Sun Belt (Coastal Carolina's Annie Bothma) individual champions, along with Clemson's Grace Barnett and NC State's Rachel Koon.

Men's 10K Preview
Team Outlook: After posting its third straight Big South runner-up finish, Liberty will aim to continue its upward trend in the regional standings. The Flames placed 15th at this meet in 2014 and 14th a year ago. Ranked No. 12 in the Southeast Region entering Friday's race, Liberty is looking for its first top 10 performance since placing 10th at Panorama Farms in 2013.

At the Big South meet, the Flames were led by the All-Big South quartet of freshman Stanley Langat (3rd place), sophomore Azaria Kirwa (4th place), redshirt senior Josh Showalter (5th place) and junior Cameron Francis (12th place).

Showalter (58th place), Kirwa (68th place) and Francis (94th place) all finished in the top 100 at the 2015 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. Meanwhile, redshirt senior Danny de Nijs placed 71st in 2014, competing for VMI.

The Flames will get another chance to face two-time defending Big South champion Campbell, which edged Liberty by six points at this year's conference meet. However, the Camels could be tough to beat on Friday due to the anticipated front running by Amon Terer and Lawrence Kipkoech.

No. 16 Virginia and No. 27 NC State finished second and third, respectively, at the ACC meet and seem to be the pre-meet team favorites.

Individual Outlook: It will be interesting to see who finishes as the Flames' No. 1 runner on Friday. Freshman Stanley Langat and junior Cameron Francis have each taken turns pacing Liberty's lineup this season. Redshirt senior Josh Showalter is the Flames' top returnee from the 2015 regional meet, while sophomore Azaria Kirwa is coming off of easily his best race of the season at the Big South Championship.

Langat will be one of two Flames making his debut at the 10K distance on Friday, along with redshirt junior Luke Jelen. Langat will try to become the second freshman in the last three years to serve as Liberty's No. 1 runner at this meet, following Titus Koech's 28th-place showing in 2014.

Liberty's last all-region runner was Josh MacDonald, who placed 15th at the 2013 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships at Panorama Farms. The last Flame to earn all-region honors as a freshman was Josh McDougal, the 2004 Southeast Regional champion in Greenville, N.C.

The Flames have not sent a men's runner to the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships since 2010, when both Sam Chelanga and Evans Kigen made it to Terre Haute.

Louisville's Edwin Kibichiy (3rd place) and NC State's George Parsons (5th place) are the top two returnees from the 2015 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships and finished second and third, respectively, at this year's ACC meet. Campbell's duo of Amon Terer and Lawrence Kipkoech could be in the hunt for the individual title as well. Kipkoech placed 11th last season, qualifying for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.