Alumni News

Championship runner presented with Hall of Fame honors

January 22, 2018 : Liberty University Athletics

Sam Chelanga receives his plaque from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell beside Director of Athletics Ian McCaw (left) and Head Coach Brant Tolsma during Sunday's ceremony in the Vines Center, where the Athletics Hall of Fame is housed. (Photo by Leah Seavers) Sam Chelanga (’11), Liberty University’s most successful NCAA Division I student-athlete, received his plaque as a member of the Flames’ Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 on Sunday.

Chelanga was unable to attend the Sept. 29 induction ceremony in Lynchburg, Va., as he was training for the Oct. 8 Chicago Marathon, where he finished the first marathon of his career 15th overall in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 2 seconds.

He accepted the honor from Liberty President Jerry Falwell during a presentation at the Flames’ men’s basketball game against UNC Asheville in the Vines Center that also featured Director of Athletics Ian McCaw and Flames Cross Country and Indoor and Outdoor Track Head Coach Brant Tolsma.

Chelanga officially joins men’s basketball player Julius Nwosu (’93), softball player Katie (Phillips) Bigham (’99), football player Richard Shelton (’88), and strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams (1984-2017) in the Class of 2017.     

A 14-time All-American, Chelanga captured individual cross country national championships in 2009 and 2010 and outdoor track and field national championships in the 10,000 meters (in an NCAA-record time of 27 minutes, 28 minutes, 48 seconds) in 2010 and 5,000 meters in 2011. He started training professionally after graduating later that spring and is now sponsored by Nike. He became a United States citizen in 2015 and paced Team USA with an 11th-place finish at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, held March 26 in Uganda.