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Schedule Change Sends Liberty XC to Big Apple

September 13, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Schedule Change Sends Liberty XC to Big Apple

Meet Information

Course Map

Bronx Weather

Due to the forecasted impact of Hurricane Florence, the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams have altered their weekend schedule. The Flames and Lady Flames are now slated to travel to Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y., for Friday's 24th Annual Br. John "Paddy" Doyle/Iona College Meet of Champions.

The meet will begin with the men's 8K at 10 a.m. and will conclude with the women's 5K at 10:45 a.m. In the process, Liberty will get the opportunity to preview the course for next month's ASUN Cross Country Championships at Van Cortlandt Park.

Liberty was originally entered in the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational, Saturday in Rock Hill, S.C. However, the meet was postponed due to Florence's projected path.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results are expected to be available during both of Friday morning's races.

Weather Report
Friday morning's weather forecast calls for cloudy skies and a temperature around 70 degrees.

Checking Out the Course
As mentioned above, Liberty will return to Van Cortlandt Park on Oct. 26 for its inaugural appearance in the ASUN Cross Country Championships, hosted by NJIT.

The Flames have not competed at the historic course since Nov. 19, 2011. That day, Liberty's men's and women's squads both placed eighth at the IC4A and ECAC Division I Cross Country Championships. Jennifer Klugh led the way individually, placing fourth overall in the ECAC women's race.

Liberty great Sam Chelanga made his collegiate debut at Van Cortlandt Park, winning the Fordham Dual men's individual title as a Fairleigh Dickinson freshman on Sept. 9, 2006.

Freshmen Andrew Stanley and Jacob Underwood will each represent Liberty for the first time on Friday. Both of them raced in the Foot Locker Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park last November as high school seniors.

Fellow freshman Rebekah Leone grew up approximately 20 miles away from Van Cortlandt Park in Washington Township, N.J.

Scoping Out the Competition
Both the Flames and Lady Flames will face nationally ranked opposition on Friday, as the Iona men's team is ranked No. 18 this week while the Indiana women's squad checks in at No. 20.

The following Iona College Meet of Champions men's teams appear in the current regional rankings: Iona (Northeast No. 2), Indiana (Great Lakes No. 3), Columbia (Northeast No. 6), Liberty (Southeast No. 7), Miami (Ohio) (Great Lakes No. 8), Rutgers (Mid-Atlantic No. 13) and Monmouth (Mid-Atlantic No. 14).

Meanwhile, four of Friday's women's squads are regionally ranked, including: Indiana (Great Lakes No. 4), Columbia (Northeast No. 6), Iona (Northeast No. 9) and Miami (Ohio) (Great Lakes No. 10).

Awesome Azaria
All-American Azaria Kirwa started his senior season in fine fashion, winning the men's 6K title at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Aug. 31. He clocked a time of 18:32.8, topping the field of 90 men's runners and earning Liberty's first-ever ASUN Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week honor.

Kirwa has now finished inside the top five at seven of his last eight cross country races, including two victories. The lone exception was his 25th-place showing at the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

Team Title
Liberty won its first men's team title since the 2017 Liberty Big South Preview by defeating Charleston (W.Va.) by 14 points (29-43) at the season-opening Virginia Tech Invitational on Aug. 31.

The Flames featured the front running of Azaria Kirwa (first place), Augostine Lisoreng (third place) and Felix Kandie (fourth place). The team also got top-20 finishes from Benjamin Klemmeck (19th place) and Nick Doan (20th place).

On Friday, Liberty will add freshmen Andrew Stanley and Jacob Underwood to the roster for the first time. Competing unattached, Stanley finished 14th and Underwood was 33rd at Virginia Tech.

Packing It Up
The Lady Flames executed the race plan of pack running to perfection at the season-opening Virginia Tech Invitational, leading to a runner-up team finish behind the host Hokies.

Liberty placed seven runners inside the top 17, all of whom crossed the 4K finish line within 3.7 seconds of one another. The Lady Flames' lead pack consisted of two juniors (Gabriella Delbo and Greer Wilson), one sophomore (Noel Palmer) and four freshmen (Emma Bower, Naomi Bowser, Calli Parlier and Kyley Sorg).

This weekend, two of Liberty's top four finishers from the 2017 Big South Cross Country Championships will make their 2018 debuts. Senior Kammi Kurtz placed sixth at last year's Big South meet, while sophomore Lauren Hirneisen was 23rd.

Up Next
Liberty will return to action on Sept. 28, traveling to McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C., for the Queen City Invite. The meet begins at 4:30 p.m. and will enable the Flames and Lady Flames to face their first ASUN opponent of the season, Kennesaw State.