Nick Doan (far left), the only senior on the 2019 Liberty men's cross country team, is a returning All-ASUN performer.
Entering their second season of ASUN Conference competition, the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams have both been tabbed for second-place finishes by the conference's head coaches.
The Lady Flames, who finished as the 2018 ASUN runners-up, earned three first-place votes and 75 total points. That left Liberty just three points shy of defending champion Lipscomb, which garnered the six remaining first-place votes.
Liberty will be led by junior Noel Palmer, the 2018 ASUN individual runner-up to Women's Preseason Runner of the Year Courtney Brenner from Lipscomb. Calli Parlier was named 2018 ASUN Freshman of the Year after a fifth-place conference finish, while junior Lauren Hirneisen was a second team All-ASUN performer. Freshman Adelyn Ackley should also make an immediate impact after qualifying for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships as a junior and senior at Hart High School in Michigan.
Led by Men's Preseason Runner of the Year Nathan Jubran, defending ASUN men's champion North Florida was a unanimous pick to repeat, capturing all nine first-place votes. Liberty was picked to match its second-place showing from 2018 with 71 points, finishing just ahead of third-place Lipscomb (64 points).
Despite the graduation of defending ASUN individual champion Azaria Kirwa, the Flames return a trio of All-ASUN runners in redshirt senior Nick Doan, redshirt sophomore Felix Kandie and redshirt junior Benjamin Klemmeck. Kandie went on to earn All-America honors in the steeplechase during the 2019 outdoor track & field season.
Liberty will open the 2019 season at home, playing host to the Liberty Challenge, Friday afternoon at the Liberty Cross Country Course. The women's 4K will begin at 5 p.m. with the men's 4K to follow at 5:30.
The 2019 ASUN Cross Country Championships are set for Nov. 2 at FGCU's Buckingham course in Fort Myers, Fla.
2019 ASUN Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll 1) Lipscomb (6 first-place votes) – 78 points 2) Liberty (3) – 75 3) North Florida – 63 4T) FGCU – 44 4T) Kennesaw State – 44 6) North Alabama – 37 7) Jacksonville – 25 8) Stetson – 24 9) NJIT – 15
2019 ASUN Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll 1) North Florida (9 first-place votes) – 81 points 2) Liberty – 71 3) Lipscomb – 64 4) FGCU – 48 5) Stetson – 46 6) NJIT – 30 7) Kennesaw State – 27 8) North Alabama – 26 9) Jacksonville – 12
Women's Preseason Runner of the Year Courtney Brenner, Lipscomb
Men's Preseason Runner of the Year Nathan Jubran, North Florida
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