Senior Jacy Christiansen was the Lady Flames' top finisher on Friday, placing 26th overall at the UVa Duals.
Both the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams picked up victories over Norfolk State during the season-opening UVa Duals, on a warm, sunny Friday afternoon at Panorama Farms. The Liberty men's squad went 1-3 on the day, defeating Norfolk State by a 25-30 count and falling to a trio of ACC opponents, No. 14 Virginia (25-30), No. 24 Florida State (15-40) and Duke (20-35). Meanwhile, the Lady Flames posted a 15-40 win over Norfolk State while losing to No. 3 Florida State (15-40), No. 10 Virginia (16-39), Duke (15-40) and James Madison (22-33). Liberty's five men's runners ran the undulating 4K course as a pack, finishing 16th through 20th in the field of 28 collegiate finishers. Junior Sam Hibbs led the way for the Flames in 13:09, followed closely by teammates Josh MacDonald (13:10), Will Templeton (13:10), Graham Hansel (13:11) and Stalline Kurgat (13:12). Host Virginia boasted three of the top four men's finishers, paced by Mike Marsella's winning clocking of 12:19. Senior Jacy Christiansen was the Lady Flames' top runner on Friday, placing 26th of 53 entrants in a 4K time of 15:33. Liberty's next four finishers crossed the line within six seconds of each other, including redshirt junior Meredith Mistretta (31st place, 15:58), redshirt junior Caroline Parris (33rd, 16:00), sophomore Kat Bouton (34th, 16:03) and sophomore Terrill Zentmeyer (35th, 16:04). Sophomore Lindsey Bray (37th, 16:16) and senior Mary Cate Cooper (39th, 16:25) rounded out the Lady Flames' top seven finishers on the afternoon. Duke's Wesley Frazier won the women's 4K in 14:01, leading the Blue Devils to a 1-2-3-4 finish overall and victories in all five of their dual competitions. Liberty will return to action at the Gardner-Webb XC Invitational, set for Sept. 13 on Gardner-Webb's campus in Boiling Springs, N.C. The day's first race will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the venue for the 2014 Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships.