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XC Pre-Nationals Set for Saturday

October 13, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Kammi Kurtz (#524) will race in her home state of Indiana on Saturday.

Kammi Kurtz (#524) will race in her home state of Indiana on Saturday.

Meet Information Central

Flotrack Live Video Streaming

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Men's 8K Course Map

Women's 6K Course Map

Terre Haute Weather

The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will travel to "Cross Country Town USA," Terre Haute, Ind., for their next meet, Saturday's ISU Pre-National Invitational.

The meet will be contested at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, site of the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The Lady Flames will compete in the women's 6K white race at 12:15 p.m., while the Flames are entered in the men's 8K white race at 12:50.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
All of the day's races will be video streamed on Flotrack. A paid FloPRO subscription is required to view the video streaming coverage.

Live results will be available for each race, courtesy of Record Timing.

Finally, the USTFCCCA will provide in-race text and photo updates on its "Live Results Wall" feature on Saturday.

Weather Report
Despite the forecast of cloudy conditions in Terre Haute, warm weather is expected to return to the Hoosier State this weekend. The temperature could reach the low 70s by race time on Saturday. A steady breeze from the south will be a crosswind for most of the races.

Scouting the Competition
Most of the highest-ranked teams competing in the ISU Pre-National Invitational will take part in Saturday morning's blue races. However, Liberty will still square off against some regionally-ranked foes in the white races.

Nine of the 29 entrants in the women's white race are regionally ranked, including TCU (No. 9 South Central), Miami (Ohio) (No. 12 Great Lakes), Northern Illinois (No. 12 Midwest), Clemson (No. 13 Southeast), Central Michigan (No. 14 Great Lakes), UTEP (No. 14 Mountain), Wichita State (No. 14 Midwest), Nevada (No. 15 Mountain) and Oakland (No. 15 Great Lakes).

Liberty is the highest-ranked team among the 22 squads entered in the men's white race, checking in at No. 12 in the Southeast Region. The Flames' top foes could include Cincinnati (No. 15 Great Lakes) and Wake Forest (No. 15 Southeast).

Checking Out the Course
Liberty will race in Terre Haute for the first time since Oct. 18, 2014, when the Flames and Lady Flames raced in the 2014 ISU Pre-National Invitational.

The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course is one of the most revered cross country venues in the nation. Next month, it will play host to the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships for the 12th time in the last 15 years.

Some of Liberty's most memorable moments have been achieved in Terre Haute, including individual national titles by both Josh McDougal (2007) and Sam Chelanga (2009 and 2010). Additionally, Chelanga owns both the men's 8K (22:51.3) and 10K (28:41.3) course records at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

Only six current Liberty cross country runners have previously competed in Terre Haute. They include Lady Flames Kat Bouton, Lindsey Bray, Jessie Proehl and Terrill Zentmeyer and Flames Graham Hansel and Josh Showalter.

Last Time at the ISU Pre-National Invitational
Liberty's most recent appearance in the ISU Pre-National Invitational came on Oct. 18, 2014. That day, Jacy Christiansen recorded what was then the Lady Flames' highest placement ever at a Pre-Nationals meet, coming in 11th in the women's 6K white race.

Current senior Terrill Zentmeyer followed in 127th place with a 6K time of 23:46.4, helping the Lady Flames finish 25th as a team.

The men's team placed 35th in that day's men's 8K blue race. Current Flames Graham Hansel (243rd place, 26:29.7) and Josh Showalter (260th, 26:40.7) served as Liberty's No. 5 and 6 runners.

Past Performances at Pre-Nationals
Liberty men's runners finished first at Pre-Nationals five times in a six-year span between 2005 and 2010. Josh McDougal took top honors in the Pre-Nationals men's 8K white race in 2005, 2006 and 2007, while Sam Chelanga won the men's 8K white race in both 2008 (course-record time of 22:51.3) and 2010.

Meanwhile, Liberty's top Pre-Nationals finishes for the men's team, women's individual and women's team categories were all achieved last season, on Oct. 17, 2015 at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.

Liberty won the 2015 men's 8K black race team title, outdistancing runner-up UC Davis by 13 points. Three Flames finished in the top 20, including Azaria Kirwa (10th place, 24:15.1), Cameron Francis (15th, 24:22.7) and Jeremie Bourget (20th, 24:34.0).

On the women's side, Ednah Kurgat recorded the program's best-ever individual finish at Pre-Nationals, placing second in the women's 6K black race with a then school-record time of 20:22.0.

The Lady Flames placed 20th as a team in the black race, bettering the program's previous best showing of 23rd in the 2007 white race. Freshmen served as the team's top three runners, including Kurgat, Torree Scull (76th place, 22:05.3) and Anna Van Wyk (119th, 22:32.9).

Who Will Lead the Way?
Both the Liberty men's and women's squads have featured multiple No. 1 runners through the season's first three meets.

Junior Cameron Francis paced the Flames' pack at the UVA Duals and VT Alumni Invite, before Stanley Langat served as the team's top finisher at the Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic.

Meanwhile, a different Lady Flame has run in the No. 1 spot at each meet, including freshman Valerie Wierenga at the UVA Duals, sophomore Anna Van Wyk at the VT Alumni Invite and senior Terrill Zentmeyer at the Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic.

Hoosier State Homecoming
On Saturday, sophomore Kammi Kurtz will get to compete in her home state of Indiana for the first time in her collegiate career. She grew up in Crown Point, Ind., located approximately 150 miles north of Terre Haute.

Kurtz has enjoyed a strong sophomore season to date, running personal-best times in each of her last two races. She clocked a 6K best of 23:17.6 at the VT Alumni Invite on Sept. 16 and then dipped below the 19:00 mark in a 5K for the first time at 18:49.7 during the Oct. 1 Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic.

Final Tune-up
Saturday's race will mark Liberty's final competition prior to the championship portion of the 2016 season. The Flames and Lady Flames will next race on Oct. 28 at the 2016 Big South Cross Country Championships in Swannanoa, N.C., located just outside of Asheville.

The Campbell men's team is the only other Big South squad scheduled to compete at the ISU Pre-National Invitational. However, the defending conference champion Camels are entered in the men's 8K blue race and will not go head-to-head with the Flames on Saturday.