David Ricksecker (left) paced the Liberty men's squad with a 12th-place finish on Friday.
Liberty redshirt juniors Jennifer Klugh and David Ricksecker notched 12th-place finishes in their respective races, highlighting the Flames' performance at Friday's Panorama Farms Invitational. The meet, contested at Virginia's hilly, soggy Panorama Farms course, served as Liberty's final tune-up for the Big South Cross Country Championships. Ricksecker and teammate Caleb Edmonds finished in back-to-back positions, helping the Liberty men's squad place fifth in a strong field, with 133 points. All four teams who defeated the Flames were ranked in the Southeast Region this week, including meet champion Virginia (39 points) and runner-up Duke (59 points). Meanwhile, the Lady Flames tallied 185 points for eighth place in the women's race. National No. 16 Virginia made it a sweep of the team championships at its home invitational, outdistancing UNC Greensboro by a 27-55 score.
Men's Meet Recap With Liberty's No. 1 runner Zac Edwards sitting out Friday's race to rest for the Flames' upcoming postseason meets, Ricksecker took over as Liberty's top finisher for the first time this season. He traversed the challenging 8K course in 25:08.60, placing 12th out of 108 entrants. Ricksecker crossed the finish line less than two seconds behind Virginia's Robby Andrews, the reigning NCAA national champion in the men's 800-meter run. Edmonds followed closely behind in 13th place, fashioning arguably the best race of the sophomore's collegiate career. Despite the unfavorable conditions, he clocked an 8K personal-best time of 25:10.16. Josh MacDonald came in 30th at 25:40.12, while Will Reeves posted a 26:07.71 for 43rd place. Isaac Wendland closed out the Flames' top five with a 55th-place finish and a time of 26:20.19. Nate Jones stopped the clock in 26:35.43 to take 62nd place and Zach Barker claimed 74th place with a 27:12.41 effort.
Women's Meet Recap Running her first 6K since setting the school record (20:55.5) at the 2010 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, Klugh finished in 21:52.01 on Friday. That was good for 12th place out of 86 competitors and top honors on the women's team. Khristina Kanagy was the Lady Flames' No. 2 finisher on the day, crossing the line in 22:58.01 for the 30th position. Betel Yosef and Jacy Christiansen came in nearly side-by-side, taking 50th and 51st place, respectively. Yosef's official time was 23:43.97, while Christiansen ran 23:44.40 in her first try at the 6K distance. Alyssa Allen and Meredith Mistretta also finished in consecutive spots for the Lady Flames, notching 62nd and 63rd place, respectively. Allen ran a 24:29.22, with Mistretta following in 24:35.40. Katie Russo finished up Liberty's top seven, earning a 67th-place finish with her 24:44.65 clocking.
Liberty will now prepare to defend its men's and women's team titles at the 2011 Big South Cross Country Championships, scheduled for Oct. 29 in Conway, S.C. Contested at Coastal Carolina's Quail Creek Golf Club, the meet will begin with the men's 8K at 10:30 a.m. The women's 5K will follow at 11:30 a.m. The Liberty men's squad will attempt to become the first team in conference history to win seven consecutive Big South titles in men's cross country. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames will aim for their third straight Big South championship and their fifth crown in the last six years.