Felix Kandie placed third on Friday, recording the best-ever finish by a Flame at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational.
Facing their stiffest competition of the young 2019 cross country season at Friday morning's Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, the Liberty men's and women's squads rose to the challenge. Felix Kandie came in third in the men's 8K, leading the Flames to seventh place as a team. On the women's side, freshman Adelyn Ackley was seventh, sparking the Lady Flames to an impressive fifth-place showing.
After winning his first two races of the 2019 campaign, redshirt sophomore Kandie took third place out of 161 men's runners in a personal-best 8K time of 24:09.2 on Friday for Liberty's best-ever individual finish at this meet. The Liberty men's squad totaled 183 points, good for seventh place among the field of 16 teams.
Ackley continued her strong start to her collegiate career, which previously saw her win both the Liberty Challenge and FGCU Invitational individual titles. On Friday, she was the only women's freshman to place inside the top 10 with a 20:45.2 clocking in her debut at the 6K distance.
A youthful Lady Flames squad, whose top five finishers featured two freshmen and three sophomores, finished with 155 points. As a result, they matched their best-ever team finish (fifth place of 15 teams) at this meet, coming in ahead of Florida and Virginia, among others.
Women's Team Results (15 Total Teams): 1) No. 11 Michigan State - 42 2) Yale – 98 3) Kentucky - 143 4) Elon – 143 5) Liberty - 155 Men's Team Results (16 Total Teams): 1) No. 22 Virginia - 35 2) Michigan State - 82 3) Charlotte - 109 4) Butler – 138 5) Yale – 143 7) Liberty - 183
Women's 6K Individual Results (149 Total Finishers): 1) Jessica Pascoe, Florida – 20:14.5 2) Annie Fuller, Michigan State – 20:25.3 3) Hannah Steelman, Wofford – 20:26.8 4) Famke Heinst, High Point – 20:36.3 5) Jeralyn Poe, Michigan State – 20:39.9 7) Adelyn Ackley, Liberty – 20:45.2 24) Calli Parlier, Liberty – 21:32.4 33) Priscillah Kiplagat, Liberty – 21:46.4 50) Emma Bower, Liberty – 22:19.1 56) Brittany Carnathan, Liberty – 22:32.0 70) Naomi Armstrong, Liberty – 22:45.9 81) Jamie Anderson, Liberty – 22:59.9 84) Katie MacDougall, Liberty – 23:03.7 104) Kyley Sorg, Liberty – 23:40.0 129) Madeline Hebert, Liberty – 24:23.6 141) Madison MacPherson, Liberty – 25:08.7
Men's 8K Individual Results (161 Total Finishers): 1) Morgan Beadlescomb, Michigan State – 23:58.7 2) JP Trojan, William & Mary – 24:08.1 3) Felix Kandie, Liberty – 24:09.2 4) Ari Klau, Virginia – 24:14.2 5) Spencer Dodds, Virginia – 24:15.4 40) Ryan Drew, Liberty – 25:06.2 41) Joe Spitzer, Liberty – 25:06.8 57) Caleb Olson, Liberty – 25:25.9 65) Andrew Stanley, Liberty – 25:36.5 95) Nick Doan, Liberty – 26:11.9 109) Jacob Underwood, Liberty – 26:28.7 111) Benjamin Klemmeck, Liberty – 26:34.9 120) Paul Squires, Liberty – 26:45.1
Race Reactions • The Liberty men's squad finished fourth among 11 Southeast Region teams in Friday's race. The Flames, who were ranked No. 13 in the Southeast Region this week, finished in front of the region's No. 11 team, William & Mary.
• Prior to Friday, the highest a Liberty runner had ever placed at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational was seventh (Ednah Kurgat in the 2015 women's race). The best men's finish had been Josh MacDonald's ninth-place showing in 2011.
• Ryan Drew and Joe Spitzer came in nearly side-by-side for the third straight race, finishing as the Flames' No. 2 and 3 men's runners. The duo's finishing times have been separated by a total of four seconds through this season's three competitions.
• Sophomore Andrew Stanley sliced 20 seconds off of his 8K personal best and finished as one of Liberty's top five runners for the first time in his career.
• The Lady Flames' only other fifth-place showing at this meet came in 2012. There were only eight women's teams at that year's Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, half the size of this year's field.
• Liberty placed third among 11 Southeast Region women's squads. Ranked No. 12 in the region, the Lady Flames defeated No. 7 Virginia and No. 8 Richmond on Friday.
• Ackley matched Kurgat's seventh-place effort from 2015 for the best finish by a Lady Flame in meet history.
• Only three Lady Flames have ever clocked a faster 6K time than Ackley's 20:45.2 effort on Friday, including Kurgat (20:06.7 in 2015), Noel Palmer (20:27.0 in 2018) and Jennifer Klugh (20:35.8 in 2012).
• Sophomore Emma Bower stepped in as the Lady Flames' No. 4 runner on Friday after missing the season's first two races due to injury.
• Seven of the 11 Lady Flames who contested the 6K on Friday were running the longest cross country race of their career to date.
• Liberty will return to Panorama Farms for the 2019 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 15.
Up Next Liberty will also send a group of women's runners to compete in the Queen City Invite this afternoon at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, N.C. The women's 5K is set to begin at 5 p.m.