Azaria Kirwa raced to the ASUN men's 8K individual title on Friday.
Liberty senior Azaria Kirwa captured the men's 8K individual title, highlighting the Flames' inaugural appearance at the ASUN Cross Country Championships, Friday at historic Van Cortlandt Park.
One of five Flames to finish inside the top 11, Kirwa helped the Liberty men's squad place second to North Florida by a score of 25-34. The Ospreys won their second men's team title in three years with five runners in the top 10.
Sophomore Noel Palmer placed a close second in the women's 5K, leading the Lady Flames to a runner-up team finish. Calli Parlier followed in fifth place, earning ASUN Freshman of the Year honors, but five Lipscomb runners in the top nine helped the Bisons win their seventh ASUN title in eight years by a 29-50 count over Liberty.
Men's Team Standings 1) North Florida – 25 2) Liberty – 34 3) Lipscomb – 75 4) Stetson – 149 5) FGCU – 151 6) NJIT – 181 7) Kennesaw State – 183 8) North Alabama – 193 9) Jacksonville – 266
Women's Team Standings 1) Lipscomb – 29 2) Liberty – 50 3) North Florida – 87 4) FGCU – 133 5) Jacksonville – 144 6) North Alabama – 164 7) Kennesaw State – 169 8) Stetson – 192 9) NJIT – 227
Men's 8K Individual Results (71 Total Finishers): 1) Azaria Kirwa, Liberty – 25:03.7 (Runner of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference) 2) Noah Perkins, North Florida – 25:13.7 (1st Team All-Conference) 3) Nathan Jubran, North Florida – 25:16.2 (Freshman of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team) 4) Rob Leverone, North Florida – 25:18.4 (1st Team All-Conference) 5) Augostine Lisoreng, Liberty – 25:30.5 (1st Team All-Conference) 6) Nick Morken, North Florida – 25:31.6 (1st Team All-Conference) 7) Silas Griffith, Lipscomb – 25:32.1 (1st Team All-Conference) 8) Benjamin Klemmeck, Liberty – 25:36.8 (2nd Team All-Conference) 9) Nick Doan, Liberty – 25:44.0 (2nd Team All-Conference) 10) Christian Conder, North Florida – 25:44.1 (2nd Team All-Conference) 11) Felix Kandie, Liberty – 25:45.8 (2nd Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team) 12) Zach Israel, Lipscomb – 25:54.2 (2nd Team All-Conference) 13) Fynn Timm, North Florida – 25:55.6 (2nd Team All-Conference) 14) Hillary Melly, Stetson – 25:56.3 (2nd Team All-Conference) 18) Tristen Montalvo, Stetson – 26:00.0 (All-Freshman Team) 22) Timothy Doyle, North Florida – 26:13.8 (All-Freshman Team) 23) Paul Squires, Liberty – 26:17.8 (All-Freshman Team) 26) Jacob Underwood, Liberty – 26:26.3 41) James Zentmeyer, Liberty – 27:20.7
Women's 5K Individual Results (70 Total Finishers): 1) Courtney Brenner, Lipscomb – 17:42.7 (Runner of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference) 2) Noel Palmer, Liberty – 17:46.1 (1st Team All-Conference) 3) Carley Lutzow, FGCU – 18:03.4 (1st Team All-Conference) 4) Brooke Kingma, Lipscomb – 18:04.4 (1st Team All-Conference) 5) Calli Parlier, Liberty – 18:23.5 (Freshman of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team) 6) Nora McUmber, Jacksonville – 18:26.2 (1st Team All-Conference) 7) Kayla Rudie, Lipscomb – 18:32.9 (1st Team All-Conference) 8) Lauren Flynt, Lipscomb – 18:35.7 (2nd Team All-Conference) 9) Grace Lahey, Lipscomb – 18:37.9 (2nd Team All-Conference) 10) Grace Gumpel, North Florida – 18:43.6 (2nd Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team) 11) Hayleigh Palotti, Jacksonville – 18:46.6 (2nd Team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team) 12) Emma Knight, North Alabama – 18:52.4 (2nd Team All-Conference) 13) Greer Wilson, Liberty – 18:53.4 (2nd Team All-Conference) 14) Lauren Hirneisen, Liberty – 18:54.7 (2nd Team All-Conference) 15) Lydia Van Dijk, North Florida – 18:58.3 (All-Freshman Team) 16) Kammi Kurtz, Liberty – 18:58.9 18) Emma Bower, Liberty – 19:04.1 (All-Freshman Team) 23) Kyley Sorg, Liberty – 19:16.8 29) Naomi Bowser, Liberty – 19:35.6 33) Jamie Anderson, Liberty – 19:43.6
Men's Coach of the Year Jeff Pigg, North Florida
Women's Coach of the Year Bill Taylor, Lipscomb
Race Reactions • Friday's race marked Liberty's first appearance at an ASUN Championship event in any sport.
• The Liberty men's squad posted a top-two conference finish for the 16th straight year. The Flames have placed second at five consecutive conference cross country meets, including the last four as a member of the Big South Conference.
• Azaria Kirwa won for the fourth time in five races this season, but Friday's triumph marked the first conference cross country title of the senior All-American's career. It was his second victory at Van Cortlandt Park this season, following his title at the Iona College Meet of Champions on Sept. 14.
• Kirwa became Liberty's first men's cross country individual conference champion since Zac Edwards in 2011.
• Kirwa's margin of victory (10 seconds) was the largest at this meet since 2014.
• Kirwa earned his fourth career cross country all-conference honor, joining Josh Edmonds and Josh McDougal as the only Liberty men's runners ever to garner four all-conference awards at the Division I level.
• The Liberty men's team put five runners on the all-conference team for the second straight year, but Kirwa and Augostine Lisoreng were the only repeat honorees.
• Benjamin Klemmeck (26:29.0 to 25:36.8), Nick Doan (26:34.0 to 25:44.0), Paul Squires (26:58.7 to 26:17.8) and Jacob Underwood (27:39.2 to 26:26.3) all ran the 8K significantly faster on Friday than during the Sept. 14 Iona College Meet of Champions
• Noel Palmer's runner-up finish in the women's 5K was a marked improvement from her showing at last year's Big South meet, where she ended up 27th as a freshman.
• Calli Parlier became the Lady Flames' first conference freshman of the year since Ednah Kurgat in 2015.
• All four of the Lady Flames' all-conference runners earned their first career all-conference awards for cross country.
• After running 21:00.5 at the Iona College Meet of Champions on Sept. 14, Kammi Kurtz, the Lady Flames' lone senior, ran an impressive 5K time of 18:58.9 on Friday. Greer Wilson (19:50.8 to 18:53.4) and Naomi Bowser (20:11.8 to 19:35.6) also made considerable improvements from their first visit to Van Cortlandt Park.
• Van Cortlandt Park played host to the meet for the first time, as the Bronx marked the farthest north the ASUN Cross Country Championships have been contested in the meet's 40-year history. The weather was overcast with the temperature in the mid-to-upper 40s.
Up Next A small group of Flames and Lady Flames will take part in the Hokie Open, Nov. 2 in Blacksburg, Va. The low-key meet will consist of a men's 6K at 4:30 p.m. and a women's 4K at 5:10 p.m. Both races will take place at Virginia Tech's Buford Meredith Cross Country Course.