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Chelanga, Galeone Qualify for Des Moines
NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round Day One Blog
Liberty redshirt seniors Sam Chelanga and Elliot Galeone both qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on a successful Thursday at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Chelanga will now have the chance to defend his 10K national title, while Galeone will throw the javelin at the national meet for the second consecutive season. Both Flames punched their tickets to Des Moines on a day featuring widely varying weather at Indiana's Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex.
Competing in a cool, steady drizzle during the evening's final race, Chelanga took the lead for good about halfway through the 10K. He cruised home to victory in a time of 29:00.94, eight seconds ahead of runner-up Shadrack Kipchirchir from Western Kentucky.
Chelanga has now qualified for the men's 10K final at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships three years in a row. He will attempt to claim his second consecutive national championship in the event June 9 at 9:50 p.m. Eastern, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Several hours earlier, in comparatively pleasant weather conditions, Galeone hurled his third javelin attempt 227-8. That distance held up for the Maryland native's second straight seventh-place finish at this meet.
The Big South javelin champion, Galeone will now wrap up his collegiate career in Des Moines on June 8, starting at 4:05 p.m. Eastern.
Iowa native Isaac Wendland extended his season on Thursday, when his 3:49.52 clocking in the men's 1,500 garnered a berth in the quarterfinal round. Wendland will battle for a trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Saturday at 6:45 p.m.
Of the Flames' other four competitors in action Thursday, Ryan Smith was the closest to qualifying for Des Moines. The redshirt sophomore came in 18th in the men's shot put, after his second throw reached 57-4.25. That left him 13 inches shy of the 12th and final qualifying position.
Dacia Bushman concluded her Liberty career with a 41st-place finish in the women's 10K under the lights in Bloomington. Her official time was 35:31.86, marking her third sub-36:00 clocking this season.
Taylor Courtney and Jennifer Klugh both came in 40th place in their respective events. Courtney ran the men's 400 hurdles in 53.86 seconds, while Klugh's second straight NCAA Preliminary Round appearance resulted in a 4:35.57 clocking for the women's 1,500.
Action at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will resume Friday at 11 a.m. Mia Aghaji will be Liberty's first athlete to compete, as the women's triple jump is set for a 1 p.m. start.