Dec 8, 2009

Running away with a national title

by Daniel Martinez

In his second year running for Liberty, red-shirt junior long distance runner Sam Chelanga had a tremendous season, winning the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) award for Division I Men’s National Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Just months after winning the Big South Conference Male Athlete of the Year award for the 2008-09 season, the Nairobi, Kenya, native had a superb season, including an astonishing, record-breaking performance in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship.

Running on the LaVern Gibson 10K course in Terre Haute, Ind., Chelanga recorded a time of 28 minutes, 41.3 seconds, 22 seconds better than the previous course record and 25 seconds better than his closest challenger. Chelanga only failed to win one meet this season, when he finished second to Stanford’s Chris Derrick (the West Regional Athlete of the Year) at the Oct. 17 Pre-Nationals. Chelanga has won six All-American honors.

Contact Daniel Martinez at

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