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Chelanga Claims Regional Cross Country Title

November 14, 2009
|  Louisville, Ky.
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Liberty's Sam Chelanga won the NCAA Southeast Regional Cross Country title on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

Liberty's Sam Chelanga won the NCAA Southeast Regional Cross Country title on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

Sam Chelanga won his second straight NCAA Southeast Regional Cross Country title, Saturday morning, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. Chelanga, the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championship runner-up, crossed the line in 29:31.25 in the 10,000-meter race, which put him 33 seconds ahead of the race runner-up.

With the win, Chelanga automatically qualifies for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., to be contested Nov. 23. This is the fifth time in the last six years Liberty has boasted the men's Southeast Regional champion. Josh McDougal claimed the title in 2004, 2005 and 2007, prior to Chelanga's back-to-back crowns.

Joining him at the national meet will be teammate Evans Kigen, who finished sixth overall at the regional meet, crossing the finish line with a time of 30:13.51. This marks the second year in a row that the Flames have sent two men's runners to the national meet.

The next Liberty finisher was David Ricksecker, who finished 56th with a time of 32:08.00. Rounding out the top five Flames finishers were Jake Reed (107th, 32:59.28) and Mark Hopely (114th, 33:05.83).

As a team, the Flames finished ninth, with 282 points, after entering the event as the No. 10 seed. The region's top-ranked team, William & Mary, won the meet with 49 points.

On the women's side, Dacia Bushman was the top Lady Flames runner in the 6K, clocking a time of 21:56.23, good for a 48th place overall finish. She shaved off nearly a minute off of her 2008 time. Jennifer Klugh was close behind, coming in 60th with a time of 22:07.09. She was followed by Rod'Esther Castor (118th, 23:00.54), Hailey Neal (120th, 23:01.44) and Betel Yosef (159th, 23:31.81).

The Lady Flames finished 18th out of 35 teams and first among the Big South participants. VMI was the next-highest conference finisher at Saturday's meet, taking 21st place with 535 points. Duke was the top women's team overall, claiming the regional title with 69 points.

The NCAA Division I National Championship will be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Nov. 23. The men's 10K race is scheduled for a 12:08 p.m. start, and for the first time, the meet will be televised live by Versus.

Men's individual results (231 runners)
1. Sam Chelanga, 29:31.25
2. Wesley Rutton, Eastern Kentucky, 30:04.46
3. Ryan Hill, N.C. State, 30:06.15
4. Patterson Wilhelm, William & Mary, 30:07.49
5. Jon Grey, William & Mary, 30:08.52
6. Evans Kigen, 30:13.51
56. David Ricksecker, 32:08.00
107. Jake Reed, 32:59.28
114. Mark Hopely, 33:05.83
158. Will Reeves, 34:05.97
183. Spencer Jackson, 34:48.49

Men's team results (35 teams)
1. William & Mary, 49
2. N.C. State, 99
3. Louisville, 121
4. Duke, 131
5. Virginia, 133
9. Liberty, 282

Women's individual results (237 runners)
1. Catherine White, Virginia, 20:03.90
2. Janet Jesang, Western Kentucky, 20:12.28
3. Tarah McKay, Louisville, 20:17.34
4. Brittany Tinsley, N.C. State, 20:25.76
5. Carly Seymour, Duke, 20:28.85
48. Dacia Bushman, 21:56.23
60. Jennifer Klugh, 22:07.09
118. Rod'Esther Castor, 23:00.54
120. Hailey Neal, 23:01.44
159. Betel Yosef, 23:31.81
165. Khristina Kanagy, 23:35.80
168. Denise Troyer, 23:38.24

Women's team results (35 teams)

1. Duke, 69
2. Virginia, 113
3. N.C. State, 135
4. William & Mary, 145
5. North Carolina, 167
18. Liberty, 494