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Kirwa Leads Flames to Victory in XC Season Opener

August 31, 2018  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Azaria Kirwa celebrates his victory at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Azaria Kirwa celebrates his victory at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Liberty All-American Azaria Kirwa opened his senior season in impressive fashion during Friday's Virginia Tech Invitational at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course. He captured the men's 6K individual championship in a time of 18:32.8, leading the Flames to victory in the men's team standings by 14 points (29-43) over Charleston (W.Va.). Kirwa was joined at the front of the pack by third-place Augostine Lisoreng and fourth-place Felix Kandie.

In the women's 4K, the Lady Flames finished second to host Virginia Tech, 38-60. Liberty's top five runners (Kyley Sorg, Emma Bower, Greer Wilson, Calli Parlier and Noel Palmer) crossed the finish line simultaneously in 15:14.4, taking 10th through 14th place, respectively.

Top 5 Men's Teams (7 Total Teams Entered):
1) Liberty – 29

2) Charleston (W.Va.) – 43
3) Washington & Lee – 82
4) Concord – 110
5) VMI – 127

Top 5 Women's Teams (9 Total Teams Entered):
1) Virginia Tech – 38
2) Liberty – 60
3) Washington & Lee – 64
4) VMI – 106
5) Concord – 149

Men's 6K Individual Results (90 Total Finishers):
1) Azaria Kirwa, Liberty – 18:32.8

2) Jason Weitzel, Concord – 18:35.1
3) Augostine Lisoreng, Liberty – 18:36.0
4) Felix Kandie, Liberty – 18:36.1

5) Jack Mastandrea, Charleston (W.Va.) – 18:42.8
19) Benjamin Klemmeck, Liberty – 19:31.6
20) Nick Doan, Liberty – 19:31.6
22) James Zentmeyer, Liberty – 19:34.6
25) Paul Squires, Liberty – 19:41.7
26) Joe Spitzer, Liberty – 19:42.9

Women's 4K Individual Results (94 Total Finishers):
1) Emily Shiesl, Virginia Tech – 14:31.1
2) Ellie Brush, Virginia Tech – 14:35.2
3) Ella Breidenstine, Virginia Tech – 14:37.4
4) Samantha Yates, Washington & Lee – 14:43.5
5) Logan Luckett, VMI – 15:04.2
10) Kyley Sorg, Liberty – 15:14.4
11) Emma Bower, Liberty – 15:14.4
12) Greer Wilson, Liberty – 15:14.4
13) Calli Parlier, Liberty – 15:14.5
14) Noel Palmer, Liberty – 15:14.5
16) Gabriella Delbo, Liberty – 15:18.1
17) Naomi Bowser, Liberty – 15:18.1
22) Jessie Rogers, Liberty – 15:31.2
23) Jamie Anderson, Liberty – 15:32.6
28) Sophia Jantomaso, Liberty – 15:39.1
33) Heidi Smith, Liberty – 15:58.8
38) Madison MacPherson, Liberty – 16:08.2
48) Rebekah Leone, Liberty – 16:19.6

Race Reactions
• Azaria Kirwa's individual victory was the second of his career. He also finished first at the 2017 Liberty Big South Preview.

• The Liberty men's squad captured its first team title since the 2017 Liberty Big South Preview.

• The Lady Flames' top two finishers (Kyley Sorg and Emma Bower) are freshmen.

• Liberty opened the season at Virginia Tech for the first time since 2012. The Flames have run at least one meet at Buford Meredith Cross Country Course for 12 consecutive seasons.

• Thirteen runners made their Liberty cross country debuts on Friday, including Lady Flames Jamie Anderson, Emma Bower, Naomi Bowser, Sophia Jantomaso, Rebekah Leone, Madison MacPherson, Calli Parlier, Jessica Rogers, Heidi Smith, Kyley Sorg and Greer Wilson, along with Flames Joe Spitzer and Paul Squires.

• The meet marked Rebekah Ricksecker's debut as Liberty's interim men's and women's cross country head coach.

Up Next
Liberty will return to action on Sept. 15, heading to Rock Hill, S.C., for the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational. The men's 8K will begin at 9:15 a.m., followed by the women's 5K at 10 a.m. The meet will enable the Flames and Lady Flames to preview the venue for the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships.