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    November 15, 2021 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    The two-time defending ASUN Conference champion Liberty women’s cross country team will be bolstered next season by the top signing class in program history. The quartet of Ava Gordon, Katrina Schlenker, Katie Sigerud and Kayla Werner signed national letters of intent to attend Liberty University for the 2022-23 academic year.

    “First and foremost, these young women have chosen Liberty because of our mission to honor and serve Jesus Christ in all that we say and do,” stated Liberty Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Lance Bingham. “As our women’s cross country team has risen to a national level, each of these elite athletes will play a vital role as strive for consistency at this level. We are thankful not only for these signees but their parents as well, who raise them in such a way that they desire to use their talents for the Lord.”

    Ava Gordon
    Distance | Loudoun Valley High School | Leesburg, Va.
    Mile: 4:55.18
    2 Mile: 10:39.67
    5K (XC): 17:16

    This past Saturday, Gordon won her third straight Virginia Class 4 cross country individual state title and helped Loudoun Valley High School capture its fourth team state championship in a row.

    Gordon qualified for the 2019 Nike Cross Nationals as a sophomore. As a junior, she placed seventh in the XC Town USA Meet of Champions.

    On the track, Gordon is a three-time state champion. She captured the 2020 Virginia Group 4 indoor 1,600 title and swept the 800 and 1,600 at the 2021 Virginia Group 4 outdoor state championship.

    In between those two seasons, Gordon clocked a two-mile best of 10:39.67 to place 10th at the 2021 adidas Indoor Nationals.

    Coach Bingham says…: “Ava has consistently been a top performer throughout her running career. She is a true competitor who is ready to make an impact on our program.”

    Katrina Schlenker
    Distance | Batavia High School | Batavia, Ill.
    800: 2:12.49
    1,600: 4:51.36
    3,200: 10:31.81
    5K (XC): 17:28

    Schlenker burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2018, finishing as the Illinois 3A state cross country runner-up (in a three-mile personal best of 16:07.4) and placing 27th at that year’s Nike Cross Nationals.

    Since then, Schlenker has gone on to place third at the state cross country meet in 2019 and 10th this season.

    Schlenker raced to a sixth-place finish in the 1,600 at the 2021 Illinois 3A outdoor state meet. She was also the 3,200 champion at the 2021 Illinois Indoor Meet of Champions, thanks to a personal-best 10:31.81 clocking.

    Coach Bingham says…: “Katrina’s scope of talent is backed with passion as she uses the platform of her success to share her faith in God, and her commitment to Liberty as evidenced in recent interviews.”

    Katie Sigerud
    Distance | Desert Vista High School | Phoenix, Ariz.
    1,600: 4:51.01
    3,200: 10:35.05
    5K (XC): 17:04

    Sigerud has posted lofty state cross country finishes in two different states. On Saturday, she came in fourth individually in Arizona as Desert Vista High School claimed the team runner-up trophy. Last season, she was the Arizona state runner-up for team state champion Desert Vista. In 2019, Sigerud came in ninth at the Minnesota Class AA state meet, representing St. Michael-Albertville High School.

    Sigerud excelled at the 2021 Arizona D1 state track meet, winning the 800 (personal-best 2:10.64) and 4 x 800 relay while taking second place in the 1,600 and 3,200 (personal-best 10:35.05).

    Coach Bingham says…: “Katie’s progression as a runner has elevated her to be one of the top runners in her state. She is a versatile runner who will surely make her mark on the team.”

    Kayla Werner
    Distance | Home Schooled | Forest, Va.
    Mile: 5:04.79
    3,200: 10:36.67
    5K: 17:12

    Werner lives in the Lynchburg area, competing for the Pacers Homeschool team. Her father, Aaron Werner, was a former Liberty decathlete.

    Werner has finished first or second in all of her cross country races this fall. A year ago, she crossed the line fourth in the VA Elite XC Invitational.

    Werner came in 12th in the two mile at the 2021 adidas Indoor Nationals, two spots behind future teammate Gordon.

    Coach Bingham says…: “Kayla’s dedication extends beyond running to all aspects of her life. Her heart for the Lord and running makes her a great fit for our program. She is also a second-generation Liberty track athlete, which is very exciting.”