Flames Home > Cross Country Home > News

Chelanga is National XC Athlete of the Year

November 30, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
|   RSS
|   Share

Sam Chelanga was recently named the 2009 Division I Men's National Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA.

Sam Chelanga was recently named the 2009 Division I Men's National Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA.

Liberty's Sam Chelanga, this year's NCAA Division I men's cross country national champion, was named the Division I Men's National Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The honor comes on the heels of Chelanga's show-stopping performance at the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country National Championship on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind., where he set a new LaVern Gibson course record with a 10K time of 28:41.3 en route to his first national title.

Chelanga was named the USTFCCCA Southeast Regional Athlete of the Year after taking top honors in the regional meet on Nov. 14 in Louisville, Ky., where he finished more than 33 seconds before the second-place runner in the 10K event.

The redshirt junior from Nairobi, Kenya, only lost one meet this season, coming in second at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 17. Stanford's Chris Derrick, the West Regional Athlete of the Year, won that event.

Chelanga, now a six-time All-American, became the third NCAA Division I national champion from Liberty. Flames graduate assistant coach Josh McDougal was the 2007 NCAA National Cross Country Champion, and current assistant coach Heather (Sagan) Zealand took the title in the mile at the 2002 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.