Meet Information Course Information Blacksburg Weather The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will remain in the Commonwealth for the second straight meet to start the 2016 season, competing in Friday's VT Alumni Invite in Blacksburg.
The women's 6K will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the men's 8K at 6:35. The races will take place at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course on Virginia Tech's campus.
Weather Report Friday evening should provide rather pleasant running conditions, as compared to the recent heat wave in Central Virginia. The weather forecast calls for a temperature around 70 degrees under partly cloudy skies.
Scouting the Competition Eleven teams are slated to compete in the VT Alumni Invite, headlined by five regionally ranked men's squads. Host Virginia Tech leads the way at No. 6 in the Southeast Region, followed by Akron (No. 11 Great Lakes), Ohio (No. 14 Great Lakes), ETSU (No. 14 South) and Liberty (No. 15 Southeast).
On the women's side, only Virginia Tech is listed in this week's regional rankings, checking in at No. 4 in the Southeast.
Liberty will get a first-hand look at Big South Conference competition for the first time this season, as both Longwood and Radford will be a part of Friday's field.
Checking Out the Course Liberty will be competing in a meet at Virginia Tech for the 10th consecutive season, but this will be the Flames' first appearance in the VT Alumni Invite since 2012.
Five of the 16 Lady Flames scheduled to run on Friday have previous experience at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course. These include Kaitlyn Hutchins (2013, 2014 and 2015 Hokie Open), Alyssa Karle (2014 and 2015 Hokie Open), Terrill Zentmeyer (2013 and 2015 Hokie Open), Lindsey Bray (2013 Hokie Open) and Kammi Kurtz (2015 Hokie Open).
Josh Showalter is the only one of Liberty's nine men's runners entered in the VT Alumni Invite who has previously raced in Blacksburg. He competed unattached at the 2013 Hokie Open.
Stepping Up to 6K Friday's women's race will be 6K in length, which is the same distance the Lady Flames will race at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships in November.
Half of the Lady Flames will be competing in their first collegiate cross country 6K race on Friday, including Victoria Clinton, Gabriella Delbo, Erin Hansel, Kaitlyn Hutchins, Lacie Robinson, Kelly Shaffer, Brooke Turner and Valerie Wierenga.
Sophomore Torree Scull boasts the fastest 6K PR among the current Lady Flames, with her 22:05.3 at the 2015 Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky.
Debuting Duo All-Big South cross country performers Torree Scull and Jessie Proehl are both slated to race for the first time in the 2016 season on Friday. For Proehl, it will be a long-anticipated return to action, as her last race came at the UVA Duals on Sept. 2, 2015.
Pack Attack Arguably the most impressive facet of Liberty's performance at the season-opening UVA Duals (Sept. 1) was the tightness of the men's and women's packs.
Freshman Valerie Wierenga was the first Lady Flame to cross the finish line, clocking a 4K time of 16:02 for 13th place. Nine of her teammates followed within the next 29 seconds.
Similarly, the spread was just 31 seconds from Liberty's No. 1 men's runner (Cameron Francis – 4K time of 12:51) to the Flames' No. 7 finisher (James Zentmeyer – 13:22).
Another Year Older … Two Liberty men's runners have celebrated birthdays since the season-opening UVA Duals. Azaria Kirwa turned 25 years old on Sept. 7, while Cameron Francis celebrated his 21st birthday on Tuesday.
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