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Chelanga Earns Pair of Conference Awards

October 8, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sam Chelanga is now the second-fastest 8K performer in Big South Conference history, trailing only former Liberty standout Josh McDougal. (Photo by David Bracetty)

Sam Chelanga is now the second-fastest 8K performer in Big South Conference history, trailing only former Liberty standout Josh McDougal. (Photo by David Bracetty)

Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga's record-setting victory at last Friday's Brooks Paul Short Run has netted two conference weekly awards. Chelanga was tabbed both the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week, this afternoon.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya) has now won both of his races this season, after dominating the field at the Brooks Paul Short Run. Chelanga's personal-best 8K time of 23:05 not only defeated race runner-up Andrew Ledwith of Iona by 38 seconds, but also shaved 34 seconds off the course record. The standard had previously belonged to former Villanova standout Bobby Curtis, the 2008 NCAA national champion in the outdoor 5,000-meter run.

Chelanga is now a two-time Big South Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week. He also captured the honor on Sept. 10, after teaming up with Mark Hopely (R-Fr., Carney's Point, N.J.) to win the season-opening Virginia Tech Cross Country Relay. His ECAC weekly award is the first to be captured by a Liberty athlete this fall.

Aided by Chelanga's triumph, the Liberty men's team finished 10th at the Brooks Paul Short Run. Head coach Brant Tolsma's Flames are currently ranked fourth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) Southeast Region poll, matching the best regional ranking in program history.

Chelanga and the Flames will take this weekend off from competition. They will return to action on Oct. 18, when they participate in the Pre-Nationals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.