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Liberty XC Set for NCAA SE Regional

November 13, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty will compete in the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, Friday in Earlysville, Va.

Liberty will compete in the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, Friday in Earlysville, Va.

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The Liberty men's and women's cross country teams will travel north on Route 29 this Friday for the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships. The meet, which will determine the qualifiers to the 2019 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will be contested at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.

The women's 6K will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the men's 10K at 11:30.

How to Follow the Flames and Lady Flames
Live video streaming coverage of both races will be provided by FloTrack, which requires a paid subscription.

Live results, featuring in-race splits and team scores, will be provided courtesy of Flash Results.

Periodic updates will be posted to the Liberty Track & Field/Cross Country Twitter account, @Liberty_XCTF.

Weather Report
Friday's forecast for Earlysville calls for partly cloudy skies and a temperature in the 40s and low 50s during the morning hours.

Checking Out the Course
Panorama Farms, which features a number of rolling hills, will play host to the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships for the fifth time in the last seven years.

The Flames and Lady Flames got a look at the course on Sept. 27 at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. The Liberty women's squad placed fifth and the men's team was seventh that morning. Felix Kandie (third place in men's 8K) and Adelyn Ackley (seventh place in women's 6K) posted lofty individual finishes.

On Friday, the men's course will add an extra loop, pushing the distance from 8K to 10K. Ryan Drew is the only current Flame who has previously raced a 10K at Panorama Farms, taking part in the 2016 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships as a freshman at VMI.

How to Punch Your Ticket to Terre Haute
The common goal for all men's and women's teams competing in Earlysville on Friday is to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, to be contested Nov. 23 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Here's what it takes:

Team Qualification: The top two teams at each of Friday's nine regional meets will automatically advance to the national meet. Liberty's region consists of teams from Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The national field will then be filled with 13 at-large selections, comprising a total of 31 men's and 31 women's teams which will compete in Terre Haute. The at-large squads will be determined using a formula based upon head-to-head success against other national qualifiers during the regular season.

Individual Qualification: All runners who place in the top 25 at the regional meet earn all-region recognition and become eligible for advancement to Terre Haute. The national meet features 38 individual competitors not on advancing teams. The top four finishers from each regional meet who are not part of a national-qualifying squad will punch their ticket to Terre Haute. Then, two at-large individuals will be added to round out the national field.

In summary, the only people who will know for sure that they are bound for Terre Haute on Friday are the top two teams in each race and the first four individual finishers who are not part of one of those teams. The complete field of team and individual qualifiers to Terre Haute will be revealed Saturday at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Women's 6K Preview
Team Outlook: After finishing a disappointing 26th the last time the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships took place at Panorama Farms (2017), the Lady Flames have turned things around in a hurry.

Liberty took 13th place in 2018 and enters Friday's meet with a No. 9 ranking in the Southeast Region, following its second consecutive ASUN Conference runner-up finish.

The Lady Flames are seeking their fourth top-10 showing in meet history. Liberty took ninth place in 2000, a program-best seventh place in 2007 and 10th place in 2010.

Liberty's race day roster will feature five sophomores (Jamie Anderson, Naomi Armstrong, Emma Bower, Brittany Carnathan and Calli Parlier) and two freshmen (Adelyn Ackley and Priscillah Kiplagat), making the Lady Flames the only team in the Southeast Region who will not bring a junior or senior to Earlysville on Friday.

Bower and Parlier both raced at last year's NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships in Rock Hill, S.C., as freshmen. But Liberty's other five entrants will be making their regional debuts on Friday.

All seven of the Lady Flames' projected regional entrants placed inside the top 20 at the ASUN Cross Country Championships.

ACC champion NC State and SoCon champion Furman have finished 1-2 at this meet in each of the last two years and are projected to do so again on Friday.

Individual Outlook: Adelyn Ackley has enjoyed a banner freshman season, most recently claiming the ASUN Conference women's individual title in a program-record 5K time of 17:08.7.

Ackley fared well during her first visit to Panorama Farms, clocking a 6K time of 20:45.2 for sixth place at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. She was also the first Southeast Region runner to cross the finish line at the Pre-National Invitational.

Ednah Kurgat was the most recent Lady Flame to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships as an individual, doing so thanks to her runner-up finish at the 2015 Southeast Region meet. That performance made her the Lady Flames' only freshman ever to reach the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and one of two Liberty freshmen (also Samantha Pelletier in 2001) to earn all-region honors.

Sophomore Calli Parlier could also be in the hunt for an all-region medal, as evidenced by her ASUN runner-up finish, just two seconds behind Ackley. Parlier placed 41st at this meet a season ago as a freshman.

The Lady Flames have only boasted two all-region performers in the same season once previously. In 2001, Heather Sagan finished sixth while Pelletier took 18th.

ACC individual champion Elly Henes of NC State and SoCon champion Hannah Steelman of Wofford are two top contenders for first place in Friday's 6K.

Men's 10K Preview
Team Outlook: The ASUN runner-up Flames have improved their regional finish for four consecutive years. After placing 15th in 2014, Liberty moved up to 14th in 2015, ninth in 2016, seventh in 2017 and sixth a year ago.

The Flames will be challenged to continue that trend on Friday, arriving in Earlysville with a No. 12 regional ranking.

On Friday, Liberty will field a lineup of two juniors (Ryan Drew and Benjamin Klemmeck), three sophomores (Felix Kandie, Andrew Stanley and Jacob Underwood) and a pair of freshmen (Caleb Olson and Joe Spitzer).

Kandie and Klemmeck are the only holdovers from last year's regional squad. Kandie (61st place in 2018) and Drew (77th place in 2016 for VMI) are the only two Flames with previous top-100 regional finishes to their credit.

Olson, Spitzer, Stanley and Underwood will each be making their debuts at the 10K distance on Friday.

Virginia Tech and host Virginia placed 3-4 at the ACC Championships and enter as the favorites to qualify for Terre Haute.

Individual Outlook: A Liberty men's runner has earned all-region honors at this meet during each of the last three years, with Azaria Kirwa qualifying to the national meet in both 2017 and 2018.

Coming off a 2-4 finish at the ASUN Championships, Felix Kandie and Ryan Drew could both contend for a top 25 showing on Friday. Kandie excelled during his last visit to Panorama Farms, taking third place at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational with an 8K time of 24:09.2.

The last time multiple Liberty men's runners garnered all-region medals was 2010, with the trio of Sam Chelanga (first), Evans Kigen (second) and Josh Edmonds (15th).

ACC Champion Peter Seufer of Virginia Tech and Campbell's talented Kenyan duo of Amon Kemboi and Athanas Kioko figure to run near the front of the pack on Friday.