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Liberty XC Season to Open at UVA Duals

August 30, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Pamorama Farms Information

Earlysville Weather

@Liberty_XCTF Twitter

For the fifth consecutive year, 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 Saturday morning at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.

The men's 4K race will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be immediately followed by the women's 4K at 8:50.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Periodic race updates will be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account (@Liberty_XCTF) on Saturday.

Weather Report
Saturday's weather should be more runner-friendly than usual at the UVA Duals, with a temperature in the low 60s and a chance of rain showers.

Scouting the Competition
Liberty will match up with competitors from James Madison (women only), Norfolk State and host Virginia on Saturday. 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. 13 nationally and No. 2 in the Southeast Region to begin the 2017 season. Meanwhile, the Southeast Region women's rankings include Virginia at No. 9 and James Madison at No. 11.

Checking Out the Course
Saturday'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 third year in a row, the 2017 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships will be contested at Panorama Farms, on Nov. 10. The meet will determine the team and individual qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

Preseason Expectations
The Liberty women's cross country team is the preseason favorite to successfully defend its Big South Conference title from 2016. Meanwhile, the men's squad was picked to finish second in the Big South and 13th in the NCAA Southeast Region this season.

Lady Flames Capsules
A group of 16 Lady Flames is scheduled to toe the starting line in Earlysville Saturday morning.

Victoria Clinton – A redshirt sophomore from Elburn, Ill., Clinton lowered her 1,500 personal best to 5:01.95 during the 2017 outdoor track & field season.

Natalee Cole – Cole will be making her Liberty debut after transferring from Bowling Green. The redshirt sophomore from Columbus, Ohio clocked a 2:22.29 800 for the Falcons.

Gabriella Delbo – Delbo will look to build upon a solid freshman season, which included a 25th-place finish at the Big South Cross Country Championships for the Elysburg, Pa., native.

Tanner Ealum – As she did a year ago, the diminutive sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska will open her year by racing at the UVA Duals. Things worked out well for Ealum in 2017, as she swept the Big South indoor and outdoor women's 400 titles as a freshman.

Jessica Eaton – The redshirt sophomore from Tequesta, Fla., has competed in just seven total races during her first two years on campus. One of those was a 33rd-place finish at the 2016 UVA Duals.

Maria Gonchar – Gonchar, a redshirt sophomore from Wexford, Pa., clocked 2:23.41 for 800 meters during her first season competing for the Lady Flames in 2017.

Emily Groeneveld – Groeneveld will run her first collegiate cross country race after spending the last three years on the Liberty women's tennis team. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native helped Calvary Christian Academy win Florida 1A state titles in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays back in 2011.

Alyssa Karle – The most experienced member of the 2017 Liberty women's cross country roster, Karle is a redshirt senior from Acton, Calif. She closed her 2017 track season with a bang, finishing as the Big South steeplechase runner-up for the second straight year with a personal-best time of 10:58.86.

Kammi Kurtz – The Crown Point, Ind., native is coming off of a breakthrough sophomore season. She placed eighth at the 2016 Big South Cross Country Championships and was the 2017 Big South 10K runner-up on the track.

Clara Lynch – Lynch will make her collegiate debut after a successful run at the Christian Academy of Louisville in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. Lynch placed third at the 2015 Kentucky state cross country meet and finished sixth in 2016.

Maggie McDermott – Predominantly a 400-meter runner, the redshirt sophomore from Montgomery, N.Y., will step up in distance on Saturday. Last season, she lowered her 400 time to 58.44.

Delaney McDowell – The redshirt sophomore from Mason, Ohio will run the UVA Duals for the second year in a row. She is now a three-time Big South women's 800 champion after sweeping the conference's indoor and outdoor 800 crowns in 2017.

Mary Kate McElroy – McElroy, a Whipple, Ohio native, came in 23rd at the 2016 Ohio Division III Cross Country Championship as a senior at Fort Frye High School.

Noel Palmer – A local product from Liberty Christian Academy, Palmer captured the 2016 VHSL 4A cross country individual state title as a senior. She also boasts a two-mile personal best of 10:52.57 on the track.

Torree Scull – Scull will return to action after illness limited her to a single race in 2016. The redshirt sophomore from St. Charles, Ill., will look to recapture her freshman season form, which included a 10th-place showing at the 2015 Big South Cross Country Championships.

Brooke Turner – Turner enjoyed a strong freshman season of racing the 800-meter distance. The Clyde, N.C., native placed fourth at the 2017 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships and dropped her time to 2:12.34 outdoors.

Flames Capsules
The Liberty men's cross country team will only suit up five runners in uniform on Saturday, as the remainder of the Flames will compete unattached.

Nick Doan – A redshirt sophomore from Temecula, Calif., Doan will make his debut in a Liberty uniform. He opened his collegiate career at Portland, where his times included a 14:45.19 5K.

Azaria Kirwa – Kirwa is coming off of a sensational track & field season, which featured a 14:00.29 5K, a 29:05.57 10K and a visit to the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 5K. The junior from Eldoret, Kenya is no slouch in cross country either, as he placed fifth at the 2015 Big South meet and improved to fourth a year ago.

Samuel Proctor – Proctor will use his final year of eligibility at Liberty after spending the previous four years at Grand Canyon. The Lyndonville, Vt., native was the 2016 WAC men's cross country runner-up and posted a 10K time of 29:56.75 on the track.

Colin Schultz – A redshirt senior from Las Vegas, Nev., Schultz will make his collegiate cross country debut after becoming one of the Flames' best-ever mid-distance runners on the track. Last season, he sped to a school-record 1,000-meter time of 2:23.01 and dropped his 1,500 personal best to 3:46.28.

James Zentmeyer – Zentmeyer suffered through an injury-plagued 2016 cross country season before the redshirt sophomore from Odessa, Fla., recovered for a strong 2017 outdoor campaign. He placed third in both the 5K and 10K at the 2017 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships and improved his 10K personal best to 30:49.35.

Next Up
Liberty will host its first cross country meet since 2008 with the Sept. 16 Liberty Big South Preview. The meet will take place at the new course adjacent to the Liberty Indoor Track Complex, with the men's 8K set for 9 a.m. and the women's 5K scheduled for 9:45 a.m.