Josh Edmonds (left) and Jordan McDougal (right) ran side-by-side at the front of the pack throughout much of Saturday's Liberty Big South Preview.
Jordan McDougal and Josh Edmonds nabbed the top two spots in the men's 8K race, Saturday morning at the Liberty Big South Preview, helping Liberty win the team title. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames came in a close second, behind top three finishes by Ashley Osborne and Rebekah Ricksecker. The meet, which featured seven of the 10 Big South squads, was the first to be contested on Liberty's campus in approximately 15 years. On a cool, sunny morning, the Flames men's team had five of the top 13 finishers in the first race of the day. As a result, Liberty outdistanced runner-up VMI by a 29-66 margin. In the women's 5K contest which followed, Coastal Carolina edged Liberty, 38-45. The tight finish was nothing new for the Chanticleers and Lady Flames, as Liberty has won the last two Big South women's cross country titles by a combined eight points over Coastal Carolina. Individually, McDougal (R-Sr., Peru, N.Y.) and Edmonds (Jr., Cooperstown, N.Y.) moved into the lead near the halfway point of the undulating 8K course. At the finish line, the only question remaining was their finishing order. Both were clocked in 26:16.2, with McDougal being awarded his first collegiate cross country victory after the finishing photo was examined. Liberty's third and fourth men's finishers also finished close together. Freshman Mike Koech (Eldoret, Kenya) posted a 26:42.9 for sixth place and was followed by the hard-charging Kyle Powers (Fr., Waterford, Vt.), who came in seventh, exactly one second behind his classmate and teammate. Jake Reed (R-So., Marysville, Ohio) was Liberty's No. 5 runner on Saturday, placing 13th overall in 27:17.7. He crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of any other team's fifth finisher. Rounding out the Flames' top seven were a pair of redshirt freshmen. Mark Hopely (Carney's Point, N.J.) was 18th out of 51 finishers, in 27:45.1, while Dan Hibbs (Hatboro, Pa.) earned a 25th-place finish with his 28:28.0. On the women's side, Osborne (Sr., Bristol, Va.) clocked a 19:17.9 for second place, finishing just six seconds behind race champion Zsanett Kis of High Point, who led the entire race. Ricksecker (Sr., Laurel, Del.) followed up Osborne's effort with a third-place finish, stopping the clock in 19:28.7. (L-R): Liberty's Rebekah Ricksecker, Ashley Osborne and Hannah Hunt compete in Saturday morning's Big South Preview. Dacia Bushman (So., Castalia, Iowa), the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year, made it three Lady Flames in the top 10. She ran a 19:42.8 to claim the seventh position. Finishing out Liberty's top five runners were Melissa Martens (R-So., Baraboo, Wis.), who ran a 20:18.7 for 15th place, and freshman Denise Troyer (Kennedyville, Md.), whose 20:35.4 netted 18th place in the field of 52 finishers. Hannah Hunt (Fr., Sewickley, Pa.) came in closely behind Troyer in the 19th position, after running 20:39.4. Liberty's seventh finisher, Ashley Teer (Sr., Abbotsford, British Columbia), crossed the line in 28th place, after completing the second cross country race of her collegiate career in 21:19.0. Liberty will return to action on Oct. 3, when the Flames and Lady Flames travel to Bethlehem, Pa., for the Brooks Paul Short Run. The men's 8K race will go off at 11 a.m., followed by the women's 6K race at 11:45. Men's 8K Race Individual Results (51 total finishers in race): 1) Jordan McDougal, 26:16.2 (Course Record) 2) Josh Edmonds, 26:16.2 3) Jamie McCarthy, Coastal Carolina, 26:19.1 4) Anthony Berkis, High Point, 26:34.7 5) Ermin Mujezinovic, VMI, 26:38.0 6) Mike Koech, 26:42.9 7) Kyle Powers, 26:43.9 13) Jake Reed, 27:17.7 18) Mark Hopely, 27:45.1 25) Dan Hibbs, 28:28.0 30) Ryan Cox, 28:55.5 Team Standings: 1) Liberty, 29 2) VMI, 66 3) High Point, 72 4) Coastal Carolina, 108 5) Radford, 131 6) UNC Asheville, 132 7) Charleston Southern, 179 Women's 5K Race Individual Results (52 total finishers in race): 1) Zsanett Kis, High Point, 19:11.3 (Course Record) 2) Ashley Osborne, 19:17.9 3) Rebekah Ricksecker, 19:28.7 4) Christian Johnson, Coastal Carolina, 19:33.3 5) Hannah Granger, VMI, 19:35.2 7) Dacia Bushman, 19:42.8 15) Melissa Martens, 20:18.7 18) Denise Troyer, 20:35.4 19) Hannah Hunt, 20:39.4 28) Ashley Teer, 21:19.0 29) Rod'Esther Castor, 21:22.1 32) Charis Haldeman, 21:39.0 35) Alicia Guridy, 22:02.1 37) Blakely Harris, 22:11.9 45) Sally Volstad, 22:59.6 49) Amanda Moyer, 25:27.8 51) Ashley Kline, 25:42.4 Team Standings: 1) Coastal Carolina, 38 2) Liberty, 45 3) VMI, 84 4) High Point, 85 5) Radford, 113 6) UNC Asheville, 146