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Ackley, Kandie Lead Liberty to Impressive Pre-National Finishes

October 19, 2019  Terre Haute, Ind.  RSS
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Adelyn Ackley placed 15th in Saturday's women's 6K blue race.

Adelyn Ackley placed 15th in Saturday's women's 6K blue race.

Competing against numerous nationally ranked opponents at Saturday's Pre-National Invitational, Liberty produced impressive team finishes in both the women's blue (seeded) race (22nd of 37 teams) and the men's blue (seeded) race (20th of 38 teams). As has been the case all season, freshman Adelyn Ackley (15th place, 6K personal-best 20:33.3) and redshirt sophomore Felix Kandie (27th place, 8K personal-best 24:06.1) led the way for the Lady Flames and Flames at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

Ackley became the third fastest runner in Liberty women's cross country history at the 6K distance on Saturday. She placed first among Southeast Region runners and second among freshmen during the first of Saturday's six races.

Ackley's performance helped the Lady Flames (22nd place, 579 points) defeat defending ASUN champion Lipscomb (30th place, 730 points) during their first head-to-head meeting this season. Liberty also topped Virginia (29th place, 711 points) for the second straight meet.

Kandie was one of four runners among the Flames' top five who posted an 8K personal-best time on Saturday, joining Ryan Drew (24:30.3), Caleb Olson (25:17.4) and Andrew Stanley (25:28.4).

Liberty (20th place, 534 points) entered the meet ranked No. 13 in the Southeast Region. The Flames may climb the regional rankings this week after defeating the region's No. 5 (Duke, 24th place, 587 points), No. 8 (Louisville, 25th place, 589 points) and No. 11 (Kentucky, 29th place, 698 points) squads. Liberty also finished well in front of ASUN rival Lipscomb (35th place, 875 points).

Women's Blue Race Team Results (37 Total Teams):
1) No. 8 Washington – 84
2) No. 2 BYU - 87
3) No. 3 Colorado - 126
4) No. 7 Michigan - 164
5) No. 11 Florida State – 204
22) Liberty – 579

Men's Blue Race Team Results (38 Total Teams):
1) No. 2 BYU - 81
2) No. 3 Colorado - 83
3) No. 21 Iona - 140
4) No. 4 Washington - 160
5) No. 8 Ole Miss - 174
20) Liberty - 534

Women's 6K Blue Race Individual Results (252 Total Finishers):
1) Erica Birk, BYU – 20:02.6
2) Joyce Kimeli, Auburn – 20:09.4
3) Sage Hurta, Colorado – 20:10.0
4) Courtney Wayment, BYU – 20:10.7
5) Ericka VanderLende, Michigan – 20:13.4
15) Adelyn Ackley, Liberty – 20:33.3
73) Calli Parlier, Liberty – 21:09.9
154) Brittany Carnathan, Liberty – 21:57.3
165) Priscillah Kiplagat, Liberty – 22:01.6
177) Emma Bower, Liberty – 22:07.3
233) Jamie Anderson, Liberty – 22:53.0
239) Naomi Armstrong, Liberty – 22:59.6

Men's 8K Blue Race Individual Results (257 Total Finishers):
1) Conner Mantz, BYU – 23:20.8
2) Amon Kemboi, Campbell – 23:22.5
3) Isai Rodriguez, Oklahoma State – 23:23.8
4) Jacob Heslington, BYU – 23:26.7
5) George Kusche, Nebraska – 23:31.6
27) Felix Kandie, Liberty – 24:06.1
58) Ryan Drew, Liberty – 24:30.3
134) Joe Spitzer, Liberty – 25:06.9
152) Caleb Olson, Liberty – 25:17.4
163) Andrew Stanley, Liberty – 25:28.4
217) Jacob Underwood, Liberty – 26:05.7
235) Nick Doan, Liberty – 26:22.4

Men's 8K Open Race Individual Results (120 Total Finishers)
1) Matt Owens, BYU – 24:24.8
2) Paxton Smith, Colorado – 24:38.2
3) Sam Tanner, Washington – 24:40.4
4) Garrett Marsing, BYU – 24:45.1
5) Connor Weaver, BYU – 24:51.8
28) Benjamin Klemmeck, Liberty – 25:52.0
87) Paul Squires, Liberty – 27:11.4

Race Reactions
• Adelyn Ackley became the first Lady Flame ever to break 21 minutes for a 6K at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. Previously, the best effort in program history at the course was 21:01.6 by Jennifer Klugh at the 2010 Pre-Nationals.

• Ackley passed 16 runners during the final 2K of Saturday's race, while teammate Brittany Carnathan improved 21 positions. Carnathan's final time of 21:57.3 sliced 35 seconds off her previous personal best.

• On the men's side, Liberty's No. 4 (Caleb Olson) and No. 5 (Andrew Stanley) runners both made big moves between the 5K and 8K marks, passing 28 and 30 runners, respectively.

• Ryan Drew broke the 25-minute mark for an 8K for the first time on Saturday, improving his previous best by 32 seconds.

• Although Saturday marked Liberty's seventh straight season competing at Pre-Nationals, it was the Flames' first visit to Terre Haute since Oct. 15, 2016 (ISU Pre-National Invitational). None of the 16 Flames who raced on Saturday had ever competed at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course during their collegiate careers.

• Another year has come and gone, and Liberty runners still own the No. 1 (22:51.3 by Sam Chelanga in 2008) and No. 2 (22:56.4 by Josh McDougal in 2007) men's 8K time in LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course history.

• Terre Haute will play host to the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships for the 13th time in 18 years on Nov. 23.

Up Next
Liberty will seek its first-ever ASUN Conference team titles in two weeks. The 2019 ASUN Cross Country Championships are slated for Nov. 2 at the Buckingham Course in Fort Myers, Fla. The men's 8K will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the women's 5K at 9:30.