Jan 26, 2010

Chelanga, Powell lead at Hokie Invitational

by Peter Sawyer

Sam Chelanga was back in action this past Saturday for the Flames as Liberty’s men’s and women’s track and field team competed against top NCAA teams at the Hokie Invitational.

This was the first time Chelanga competed since he won the NCAA national cross country title, and Chelanga won the men’s mile run with a time of 4 minutes, 7.15 seconds. He was Liberty’s only event champion on the first day of competition.

“When you have an athlete of that caliber you want him to focus on the big meets,” Tolsma said. “You only have so many good races in you. We don’t want to use him up on things that are not important.”

The level of competition at the Hokie Invitational was very high. Teams from major NCAA conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference competed against Liberty including Florida State, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“This is a higher level of competition then we’ll see in the Big South,” Coach Tolsma said. “It is fun to get in with the bigger teams in the area and see how we’ll fare.”

Tolsma also said that the men’s team is competing very well within the Big South.

Liberty junior Clarence Powell won the men’s high jump, clearing the 7 1/4 bar to win the competition on his third attempt. Powell also finished second in the triple jump. He broke the Liberty record that he set in February 2009, jumping15.39 meters.
Coach Tolsma said that Powell’s performance was worthy of being named the athlete of the week.

Senior Josh Edmonds placed second in the 5K final with a time of 14:50.59 in his indoor track debut.

The women’s 4-by-800 relay team set a school record and finished with a time of 9:15.21. Redshirt senior Jamie Watson ran an impressive 2:12.4 anchor leg of the relay. However, the relay team finished third in the event.

The Liberty Flames track team looks forward to the rest of the season after being battle-tested at the Hokie Invitational. The Liberty Open will be Friday and Saturday at Liberty’s Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

Contact Peter Sawyer
at psawyer@liberty.edu.

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