Thanks to a strong third-place showing at Friday's Iona College Meet of Champions, the Liberty men's cross country team is ranked a season-best No. 5 in the NCAA's Southeast Region, as announced today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Flames have achieved their highest regional ranking since being listed a program all-time best No. 4 on Oct. 13, 2008. Liberty trails only Campbell (No. 1), Virginia (No. 2), NC State (No. 3) and Furman (No. 4) in this week's Southeast Region poll.
Liberty tallied 68 points at the Iona College Meet of Champions, finishing behind meet champion Indiana (55) and runner-up Columbia (67), both of whom are ranked among the top four of their respective regions this week.
For the second straight meet, the Flames were paced by the front-running trio of senior Azaria Kirwa (first place), redshirt freshman Felix Kandie (sixth) and sophomore Augostine Lisoreng (seventh). Kirwa topped the field of 137 men's runners in an 8K time of 25:01.0 for his second straight individual victory to start the 2018 season. The All-American is Liberty's first men's cross country runner to post back-to-back individual titles since Zac Edwards in 2011.
Redshirt junior James Zentmeyer (22nd) and redshirt sophomore Benjamin Klemmeck (34th) rounded out the Flames' top five at Van Cortlandt Park, which will play host to next month's ASUN Cross Country Championships.
Following a weekend off from competition, Liberty will return to the course for the Sept. 28 Queen City Invite at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C. The women's 5K is set to begin at 5 p.m., followed by the men's 8K at 5:30.
USTFCCCA Men's Cross Country Southeast Region Rankings – Week 2 1) Campbell 2) Virginia 3) NC State 4) Furman 5) Liberty 6) Charlotte 7) Eastern Kentucky 8) Virginia Tech 9) Kentucky 10) Wake Forest 11) William & Mary 12) Duke 13) Louisville 14) North Carolina 15) Clemson
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