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Liberty Big South Preview Set for Saturday

September 18, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Jordan McDougal, the 2007 Big South cross country runner-up, will make his 2008 season debut Saturday at home.

Jordan McDougal, the 2007 Big South cross country runner-up, will make his 2008 season debut Saturday at home.

Liberty's regionally-ranked men's and women's cross country teams will compete at their new, on-campus home course, Saturday morning at the Liberty Big South Preview. The Flames and Lady Flames will be matched up with competitors from six other conference schools.

Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Radford, UNC Asheville and VMI are all scheduled to participate in Saturday's meet, making the event a true conference preview. The men's 8K race will go off first, with the gun slated to go off at 9:15 a.m. The women's 5K race will follow at 10 a.m. Both races will be contested around the Campus East intramural fields and the adjacent woods.

The Liberty men's squad, ranked No. 4 in the Southeast Region, figures to contend for the team title. The Flames' lineup will feature the 2008 season debut of Jordan McDougal (R-Sr., Peru, N.Y.) as well as his fellow Empire State native, Josh Edmonds (Jr., Cooperstown, N.Y.). Edmonds posted the fourth-fastest overall time at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Relay on Sept. 5, helping Liberty win the team championship. Two-time All-American Sam Chelanga (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya) will sit out this weekend's meet, before returning to action at the Brooks Paul Short Run on Oct. 3.

In the women's race, longtime Big South rivals Liberty and Coastal Carolina will match up for the first time this season. The Lady Flames were picked first and the Chanticleers second in the Big South preseason poll. Liberty is currently ranked No. 9 in the Southeast Region, while Coastal Carolina follows closely, at No. 12.

Liberty head coach Brant Tolsma has entered 20 women's runners in the meet, including seniors Ashley Osborne (Bristol, Va.) and Rebekah Ricksecker (Laurel, Del.). The duo combined to win the Virginia Tech Cross Country Relay and shared the Big South Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week honor on Sept. 10. Returning all-Big South performers Katie Albright (So., Wake Forest, N.C.) and Dacia Bushman (So., Castalia, Iowa) are also set to compete for the Lady Flames on Saturday.

All of this weekend's competitors will get a first-hand look at the course which will host the New Balance Big South Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1. The Liberty men's and women's cross country programs have combined to win 14 Big South titles, but this will be the first time they have ever hosted the conference meet.