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Liberty XC to Race in Louisville

September 29, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty XC to Race in Louisville

Meet Information

Course Maps

Louisville Weather

The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will open the month of October at the Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic, Saturday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.

The meet, formerly known as the Greater Louisville Classic, will begin with the men's 8K gold race at 9:30 a.m. The Lady Flames will then compete in the women's 5K gold race at 10:15.

Weather Report
Saturday morning is expected to feature a temperature in the low 60s and a chance of showers. The race course could be soggy, with a wet week forecasted for Louisville.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will face its most significant competition thus far in the 2016 season, as 37 teams are entered in both the men's and women's gold races.

No. 9 Eastern Kentucky headlines the men's field. Ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Region, the Colonels are one of nine regionally ranked squads the Flames will face on Saturday. Other entrants appearing in this week's regional rankings include Middle Tennessee (No. 3 South), Virginia Tech (No. 4 Southeast), Louisville (No. 7 Southeast), Auburn (No. 7 South), Tennessee (No. 9 South), Tennessee Tech (No. 10 South), Davidson (No. 12 Southeast) and ETSU (No. 15 South).

On the women's side, No. 14 Michigan is the defending meet champion and enters at No. 2 in the Great Lakes Region. They will be joined by 11 other regionally ranked teams, including Virginia Tech (No. 4 Southeast), Butler (No. 7 Great Lakes), Elon (No. 9 Southeast), Auburn (No. 9 South), Marquette (No. 9 Great Lakes), Middle Tennessee (No. 10 South), Toledo (No. 10 Great Lakes), Louisville (No. 11 Southeast), Memphis (No. 11 South), UAB (No. 12 South) and Bowling Green (No. 14 Great Lakes).

Checking Out the Course
Liberty will take part in its fifth meet at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in the last three seasons. The Flames competed in the 2014 Greater Louisville Classic, 2014 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, 2015 Pre-Nationals and 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at the venue.

E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park has played host to the 2012 and 2015 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, both of which featured Lady Flames. Jennifer Klugh competed in the 2012 NCAA meet, and Ednah Kurgat became the Lady Flames' first NCAA Division I women's cross country All-American last year in Louisville. The NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships are slated to return to the Derby City in 2017.

The course is a fast one, and six of Liberty's current men's runners set their 8K personal-best times in Louisville. These include Azaria Kirwa (24:15), Cameron Francis (24:22), Josh Showalter (24:51), James Zentmeyer (25:10), Graham Hansel (25:37) and Jack Tidball (26:11).

Last Time at the Greater Louisville Classic
Liberty last appeared in the Greater Louisville Classic in 2014, when Jacy Christiansen won the women's 5K blue race title, leading the Lady Flames to a fourth-place team finish. Meanwhile, Liberty came in third in the men's 8K blue race.

Jessie Proehl was the Lady Flames' top finisher among active runners that day, placing 49th. Teammate Terrill Zentmeyer clocked her first sub-19:00 5K at the 2014 Greater Louisville Classic.

Josh Showalter came in 73rd in the men's 8K that day, pacing the current Flames.

Liberty has boasted an individual champion each of the last two times it has competed at the Greater Louisville Classic. Josh McDougal captured the men's 8K gold race title at the 2006 edition of the meet.

First 5K
The Liberty women's cross country team will compete at the 5K distance for the first time this season, following a 4K race at the season-opening UVA Duals and a 6K at the VT Alumni Invite.

Five current Lady Flames have clocked a sub-19:00 5K during their collegiate cross country careers, led by Torree Scull (18:12 personal best). Anna Van Wyk (18:19), Jessie Proehl (18:46), Alyssa Karle (18:50) and Terrill Zentmeyer (18:52) have also dipped under 19:00.

Another Year Older …
Senior Lindsey Bray will run her last race as a 21-year-old this weekend. The native of Emmaus, Pa., will celebrate her 22nd birthday on Tuesday.