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Liberty XC Season to Open at UVA Duals

August 31, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Panorama Farms Information

4K Course Map

Earlysville Weather

@LUGameday Twitter

For the fourth year in a row, the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will open the season by competing in the low-key UVA Duals meet. The competition is slated for Thursday evening at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.

The women's 4K race will begin at 6 p.m. and will be immediately followed by the men's 4K.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Periodic race updates will be posted to the Liberty Gameday Twitter account (@LUGameday) on Thursday.

Weather Report
The good news? Thursday's forecasted high temperature in Earlysville is in the low 80s, which is cooler than most of this summer's weather has been in Central Virginia. The bad news? There is a chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will match up with competitors from James Madison (women only), Norfolk State and host Virginia on Thursday. Separate dual meet scores will be calculated against each opponent.

Even though the field is small, the Flames and Lady Flames will face some high-level opposition in Earlysville. Virginia's men's team is ranked No. 15 nationally to begin the 2016 season, while the women's squad checks in at No. 16. Meanwhile, the James Madison women are listed No. 10 in the Southeast Region to start the year.

Checking Out the Course
Thursday's races will enable Liberty's runners to preview the looping, undulating terrain of Panorama Farms. The next time the Flames and Lady Flames return to Earlysville, the stakes will be much higher.

For the second year in a row, the 2016 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships will be contested at Panorama Farms, on Nov. 11. The meet will determine the team and individual qualifiers for the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

Preseason Expectations
The Liberty women's cross country team is the preseason favorite to claim its first Big South Conference title since 2012. Meanwhile, the men's squad was picked to finish second in the Big South and 12th in the NCAA Southeast Region this season.

Welcome Back
The Liberty women's squad returns three runners who have earned All-Big South honors in cross country during their careers. Sophomores Torree Scull and Anna Van Wyk placed 10th and 11th, respectively at last year's Big South meet. Meanwhile, senior Jessie Proehl was the ninth-place finisher at the 2013 Big South Championship.

The men's team also boasts three returning All-Big South performers, in sophomore Azaria Kirwa (fifth place in 2015), redshirt senior Josh Showalter (ninth) and junior Cameron Francis (11th).

Fresh Faces
Only one male runner, freshman Stanley Langat, is expected to make his Liberty cross country debut on Thursday. Conversely, a dozen Lady Flames are slated to run their first cross country race in a Liberty uniform.

The Liberty women's cross country newcomers on Thursday will include Victoria Clinton, Gabriella Delbo, Tanner Ealum, Jessica Eaton, Maria Gonchar, Erin Hansel, Elizabeth Hutton, Delaney McDowell, Kylie Polsgrove, Lacie Robinson, Brooke Turner and Valerie Wierenga.

Mid-distance runner McDowell and heptathlete Polsgrove were the Big South Women's Freshmen of the Year at the 2016 Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships, respectively. They will be among a number of Lady Flames stepping outside their usual event specialties on Thursday.