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Liberty XC Set for First Home Meet Since 2008

September 14, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty's new cross country course will host its first meet on Saturday.

Liberty's new cross country course will host its first meet on Saturday.

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Saturday morning's Liberty Big South Preview will mark Liberty's first home cross country meet since 2008 and the debut of the Flames' new cross country course, located adjacent to the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.

Competitors from High Point, Liberty, Longwood, Radford and UNC Asheville will race in the men's 8K at 9 a.m., followed by the women's 5K at 9:45.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live results will be available on Saturday, courtesy of Blue Ridge Timing.

Additionally, periodic race updates will be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account (@Liberty_XCTF).

Weather Report
Saturday morning's weather should be pleasant for running, with partly cloudy skies and a temperature in the 60s. The course could be a bit soggy after rain in the Lynchburg area earlier in the week.

Checking Out the Course
Liberty's new cross country course is located adjacent to the Liberty Indoor Track Complex, which is beneath the LU monogram off of Candlers Mountain Road. The road leading back to the course may be found directly across the street from the Fairfield Inn & Suites. The hotel's address is 3777 Candlers Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502.

Most of the course is located in the wooded area between the Liberty Indoor Track Complex and Route 460. The 5K course includes one small loop (approximately one mile) and one large loop (approximately two miles). The 8K course follows the 5K course before making a second lap around the large loop.

The same 5K and 8K courses will be used for the 2017 Big South Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28.

Scouting the Competition
Half of the Big South Conference cross country teams will be on hand for the Liberty Big South Preview, including High Point, Liberty, Longwood, Radford and UNC Asheville.

Both the Liberty men's and women's teams figure to battle for first place on Saturday, with High Point expected to provide the Flames' toughest competition.

On the men's side, the 2014 Big South champion Panthers are anchored by junior Alejandro Juan Torres.

Meanwhile, the women's race will feature the last three Big South team champions. High Point took back-to-back conference titles in 2014 and 2015 before Liberty claimed the 2016 title. This year's High Point squad is bolstered by the addition of freshman Famke Heinst, the Big South Women's Runner of the Week on Sept. 6.

Looking Back
Liberty's last home meet came on Nov. 1, 2008, when the Flames played host to the Big South Cross Country Championships. That course started where the East Campus Field House, home to Liberty's field hockey and lacrosse programs, is now located.

Liberty's men's team won its fourth consecutive Big South title by 36 points over runner-up High Point. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames placed second to Coastal Carolina by a single point, 54-55.

Sam Chelanga captured his first Big South individual title that day. He is part of the 2017 class of the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame and is also preparing for the Oct. 8 Chicago Marathon.

That same day, current Liberty Assistant Coach Rebekah Ricksecker was the Big South women's runner-up during her senior cross country season.

Liberty Men's Outlook
The Liberty men's squad climbed to No. 10 in the Southeast Region following a successful 2017 season opener at the UVA Duals on Sept. 2.

The Flames won both of their duals, including a 27-28 victory over national No. 13 Virginia. All five of Liberty's runners placed inside the top eight, including junior Azaria Kirwa (third place), redshirt senior Samuel Proctor (fourth), redshirt sophomore Nick Doan (fifth), redshirt sophomore James Zentmeyer (seventh) and redshirt senior Colin Schultz (eighth).

On Saturday, freshmen Felix Kandie and Augostine Lisoreng, both of whom hail from Eldoret, Kenya, are expected to make their debuts in a Liberty uniform.

Liberty Women's Outlook
The Big South preseason favorite Lady Flames went 1-2 at the season-opening UVA Duals on Sept. 2, defeating Norfolk State while falling to regionally ranked rivals Virginia and James Madison.

Liberty's top seven runners crossed the finish line within 13 seconds of one another, led by junior Kammi Kurtz. She was trailed by sophomore Gabriella Delbo, freshman Noel Palmer, sophomore Brooke Turner, freshman Lauren Hirneisen, freshman Mary Kate McElroy and redshirt senior Alyssa Karle, in that order.

On Saturday, redshirt sophomore Torree Scull is expected to compete for the first time in an exactly a year. The Illinois native was an All-Big South runner as a freshman in 2015.

Next Up
Liberty will face its stiffest competition of the young season on Sept. 29, as the Flames and Lady Flames travel to Bethlehem, Pa., for the 44th Paul Short Run. The first race of the day will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Goodman Campus Cross Country Course.

Liberty will be participating in the Paul Short Run for the first time since 2010, when Sam Chelanga won his senior season debut race and Jennifer Klugh broke the Liberty women's 6K record.