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Chelanga Honored as SE Region Athlete of Year

November 20, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sam Chelanga has been honored as his region's top men's cross country athlete for the second time in his collegiate career.

Sam Chelanga has been honored as his region's top men's cross country athlete for the second time in his collegiate career.

Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga, considered a national title contender at Monday's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, has earned a piece of hardware today. He was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya) was previously tabbed the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year, as a Fairleigh Dickinson freshman in 2006. He is also the second consecutive Liberty athlete to receive the regional honor. Josh McDougal garnered the same award last season, on his way to the NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championship.

Chelanga has won each of his first five races in a Liberty uniform, including the Virginia Tech Cross Country Relay (where he teamed with Mark Hopely (R-Fr., Carney's Point, N.J.)), the Brooks Paul Short Run, the Pre-Nationals White Race, the Big South Championship and the Southeast Regional Championship. More impressively, no runner has finished within 23 seconds of Chelanga in any race so far this fall.

Chelanga will attempt to become Liberty's second straight national cross country titlist, Monday at 12:48 p.m., and will be joined by teammate Jordan McDougal (R-Sr., Peru, N.Y.) on the starting line. The men's 10K championship race will be contested at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. For the second consecutive year, CBS College Sports will televise the meet live, beginning at noon.