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Hall of Flame Reflections with Sam Chelanga
In preparation of Liberty's annual Hall of Fame weekend in September, LFSN reporter Nick Pierce recently had a chance to talk with 2017 inductee Sam Chelanga.
Five new members will be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony in September. The Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 will include representatives from football, men's basketball, men's cross country/track & field and softball, as well as Liberty's strength and conditioning program.
The five-member class, the ninth to be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, will be honored during special ceremonies surrounding Liberty's football match-up with St. Francis, Pa., on Sept. 30 at Williams Stadium.
Chelanga is Liberty's most successful student-athlete at the NCAA Division I level, having won four individual national championships during his time with the Flames' cross country and track & field programs.
Chelanga burst onto the scene in 2009, winning the first of two consecutive national titles in men's cross country (2009 and 2010). The long distance runner would also go on to claim national championships at the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in the 10K in 2010 and the 5K in 2011. He is the first student-athlete in school history to win multiple national championships.
Chelanga set a new NCAA record in 2009, clocking a time of 27:28.48 in the men's 10K on April 24, 2009, and broke his own record with a time of 27:08.39 on May 1, 2010, which still stands today. He was a two-time finalists for the Bowerman award (2010 and 2011) and a three-time Big South Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year award winner (2009, 2010 and 2011).
The 14-time All-American and native of Nairobi, Kenya, started competing professionally in 2011 and is sponsored by Nike. He gained United States citizenship in 2015 and led Team USA with an 11th-place finish at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.