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LU Men, Women Climb in Regional XC Polls

November 3, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames' second-place finish at the New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships boosted their regional ranking to No. 14.

The Lady Flames' second-place finish at the New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships boosted their regional ranking to No. 14.

Strong showings at Saturday's New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships enabled the Liberty men's and women's cross country squads to move up in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Regional polls. The Big South champion Flames check in at No. 7 this week, while the conference runner-up Lady Flames rejoin the rankings at No. 14.

Head coach Brant Tolsma's men's cross country team was ranked eighth in the Southeast Region a week ago, prior to a dominating performance at the New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships, on Liberty's home course. Liberty runners claimed three of the top four spots in the men's 8K championship race, helping the Flames outdistance runner-up High Point by 36 points for their fourth straight Big South title and the 10th in program history.

Leading the way for Liberty was Sam Chelanga (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya), who finished first overall to remain unbeaten during his first season in a Flames uniform. Jordan McDougal (R-Sr., Peru, N.Y.) followed Chelanga across the line, claiming runner-up honors for the second year in a row at the conference meet. Josh Edmonds (Jr., Cooperstown, N.Y.) and Jake Reed (R-So., Marysville, Ohio) also earned All-Big South honors, finishing fourth and 10th, respectively.

Two conference champions top this week's Southeast Region men's poll. ACC first-place finisher Virginia remains at No. 1, followed by Colonial Athletic Association champion William & Mary in second place.

On the women's side, the Lady Flames moved up to No. 14 in the Southeast Region, after missing out on their third consecutive Big South title by a single point. Coastal Carolina edged host Liberty, 54-55, on Saturday, and the Chanticleers are listed one spot ahead of Liberty in this week's regional poll, at No. 13.

Rebekah Ricksecker (Sr., Laurel, Del.) finished second overall, to lead the Lady Flames' effort and earn her third consecutive All-Big South distinction. Classmate Ashley Osborne (Bristol, Va.) was also an all-conference member, as a result of her 10th-place finish. A couple of freshmen, Hannah Hunt (Sewickley, Pa.) and Denise Troyer (Kennedyville, Md.) also contributed significantly to Liberty's fifth consecutive conference top-two finish, placing 15th and 17th, respectively.

The top five spots in the women's Southeast Region poll are owned by ACC squads, paced by Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons finished third at Saturday's ACC Championships. Duke, which is ranked second in the region, and Virginia, listed third in the region, shared fourth place at the ACC meet.

The Liberty men's and women's teams will square off against their regional foes in their next meet, the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. The meet is scheduled for Nov. 15 and will be hosted by Wake Forest at Tanglewood State Park in Clemmons, N.C. The women's 6K championship is slated for 11 a.m., with the men's 10K race to follow at noon.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country Regional Rankings
Southeast Region – Week 6
1) Virginia
2) William & Mary
3) N.C. State
4) Eastern Kentucky
5) Virginia Tech
6) Duke
7) Liberty
8) North Carolina
9) Louisville
10) Richmond
11) Appalachian State
12) Kentucky
13) Charlotte
14) Clemson
15) Morehead State

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Regional Rankings
Southeast Region – Week 6
1) Wake Forest
2) Duke
3) Virginia
4) North Carolina
5) Virginia Tech
6) Richmond
7) Kentucky
8) William & Mary
9) Charlotte
10) Clemson
11) Louisville
12) James Madison
13) Coastal Carolina
14) Liberty
15) Furman