At No. 7, the Liberty men's cross country team has achieved its highest regional ranking since 2013.
After placing 10th at Saturday's Pre-Nationals, the Liberty men's cross country team climbed three spots to a season-best No. 7 in the Southeast Region, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The Flames' regional ranking is their highest since being listed No. 7 on Oct. 7, 2013, the year Liberty won its most recent Big South Conference title.
Furman maintained its hold on the No. 1 spot in the Southeast Region, followed by Virginia Tech (No. 2), NC State (No. 3), Campbell (No. 4) and Eastern Kentucky (No. 5).
Competing in the Pre-Nationals men's red (seeded) 8K race at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., Liberty finished 10th of 41 teams. The Flames matched the 2010 squad for the highest team finish at a Pre-Nationals seeded race in program history. Liberty finished just nine points behind national No. 5 Arkansas and defeated No. 19 Georgetown in the process.
Azaria Kirwa continued his incredible junior season, clocking an 8K personal-best time of 23:11.4 for fourth place of 282 men's finishers. Teammates Samuel Proctor (62nd, personal-best 24:10.5), Nick Doan (73rd, 24:17.1) and James Zentmeyer (91st, personal-best 24:25.5) also finished before the clock reached 24:30. Redshirt junior Louis Paone stepped up as the No. 5 runner, placing 166th in a personal-best 25:01.2.
For the second time in program history and the first time since 2008, Liberty will play host to the Big South Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28. The meet will be the second event contested at the Flames' new course, located adjacent to the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.
The men's 8K will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the women's 5K at 11:30. The Lady Flames will look to defend their Big South title from 2016, while the Flames are aiming for their first Big South crown since 2013.
USTFCCCA Division I Southeast Region Men's Cross Country Rankings 1) Furman 2) Virginia Tech 3) NC State 4) Campbell 5) Eastern Kentucky 6) William & Mary 7) Liberty 8) Charlotte 9) Kentucky 10) Virginia 11) Duke 12) Morehead State 13) Wake Forest 14) East Carolina 15) North Carolina
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