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Liberty Men's XC Begins at No. 13 in Southeast

August 28, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Azaria Kirwa (left) and Jack Tidball (right) are two of the returnees for the 2017 Liberty men's cross country team.

Azaria Kirwa (left) and Jack Tidball (right) are two of the returnees for the 2017 Liberty men's cross country team.

The Liberty men's cross country team is ranked No. 13 in the Southeast Region to begin the 2017 season, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

NC State is the defending Southeast Region men's team champion, but is ranked No. 4 to kick off the 2017 campaign, trailing Furman (No. 1), Virginia (No. 2) and Virginia Tech (No. 3).

Liberty, which came in ninth at the 2016 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, returns three of its top five finishers from that race. Junior Azaria Kirwa came in 31st, while senior Graham Hansel was 79th and senior Cameron Francis placed 85th. The Flames have also added redshirt senior Samuel Proctor, the 2016 WAC men's cross country runner-up while competing for Grand Canyon.

Liberty was previously picked second in the Big South Conference behind Campbell, which appears at No. 7 in the Southeast Region to start the year.

The 2017 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships will be contested on Nov. 10 at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va. Liberty will preview the Panorama Farms course on Saturday, when the Flames and Lady Flames open the 2017 season at the UVA Duals. The men's and women's athletes will each contest 4K races, with the day's action starting at 8:30 a.m.

USTFCCCA Division I Southeast Region Men's Cross Country Rankings
1) Furman
2) Virginia
3) Virginia Tech
4) NC State
5) Kentucky
6) Eastern Kentucky
7) Campbell
8) William & Mary
9) Wake Forest
10) Charlotte
11) George Mason
12) Louisville
13) Liberty
14) Duke
15) North Carolina