For the second time this season, Liberty senior Azaria Kirwa and sophomore Noel Palmer have been named ASUN Men's Runner of the Week and Women's Runner of the Week, respectively, on the same day. Both Flames were individual champions at Friday's Queen City Invite in Charlotte, N.C.
Kirwa and Palmer's previous sweep of the ASUN weekly honors came on Sept. 19. Kirwa also claimed a third ASUN Men's Runner of the Week recognition on Sept. 5, following his first of three straight first-place finishes to begin the 2018 season.
Kirwa covered the 8K course at McAlpine Creek Park in 23:53 on Friday, leading a 1-2-3-4 Liberty sweep of the men's individual race. As a result, the Flames ran away with the Queen City Invite men's team title.
Kirwa has now finished first at the Virginia Tech Invitational, Iona College Meet of Champions and Queen City Invite this season. The Eldoret, Kenya native is the first Flame since Sam Chelanga (2009-10) to win three consecutive races.
Meanwhile, Palmer captured the Queen City Invite women's 5K title in a school-record time of 17:09, earning the first individual cross country victory of her collegiate career. She became the first Lady Flame to win a cross country race since Sept. 2, 2015 (Ednah Kurgat – UVa Duals).
Palmer also took down Kurgat's Liberty women's cross country 5K record time of 17:11.1, set on Sept. 26, 2015 at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Palmer won the race by 16 seconds over Elon's Coralea Geraniotis, helping the Lady Flames place a close second behind Duke in the 28-team field.
Liberty will be represented in two different meets on the weekend of Oct. 12-13. Some Flames and Lady Flames will return to McAlpine Creek Park on Oct. 12 for the Royals Challenge. The women's 5K is slated for 4:30 p.m., with the men's 8K to follow at 5 p.m.
Liberty will also take part in the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13 at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wis., site of the 2018 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The day's first of six races will go off at 11 a.m. Eastern.
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