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Chelanga Voted Regional Athlete of the Year

June 6, 2011
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Sam Chelanga, shown here wrapping up his 2010 NCAA 10K national title, will attempt to win another national crown in the 10K Thursday at 9:50 p.m. Eastern. (Photo by Brian Mason)

For the third year in a row, Liberty redshirt senior Sam Chelanga has been honored as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I Southeast Region Men's Track Athlete of the Year for outdoor track & field.

Chelanga completes a sweep of the USTFCCCA's regional honors this year, after previously claiming the corresponding awards in cross country and indoor track. During his nine seasons as a Liberty student-athlete, Chelanga captured seven USTFCCCA Southeast Region Athlete of the Year honors, including three apiece in cross country and outdoor track, as well as the 2011 indoor track award.

Chelanga garnered this recognition despite running only four races so far during his final collegiate season. He is undefeated in those four contests, after posting the fastest 5K and 10K times at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet in Bloomington, Ind.

Chelanga also boasts the NCAA's third-fastest 10K time in 2011, a 28:15.64 clocking at the Raleigh Relays on March 25.

An 11-time All-American, Chelanga is one of six men's runners who will contest both the 5K and 10K events at the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be held Wednesday through Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Chelanga will attempt to defend his 10K national title Thursday at 9:50 p.m. Eastern. He will then run the 5K final Saturday at 2:21 p.m. Eastern, in a race which will be broadcasted live on CBS.