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Chelanga Captures 1st U.S. Title

October 4, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga poses with women's champion Molly Huddle after his first U.S. national title. (Photo courtesy USATF)

Sam Chelanga poses with women's champion Molly Huddle after his first U.S. national title. (Photo courtesy USATF)

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Less than two months after becoming a U.S. citizen, 2011 Liberty graduate Sam Chelanga captured his first USA Track & Field (USATF) national title, Sunday morning. He edged Tyler Pennel to win the men's USATF 10 Mile Championship on the streets of Minneapolis, Minn.

Chelanga clocked a time of 46:47, putting him one second in front of 2014 USATF marathon champion Pennel after a furious battle over the final 100 meters. Chelanga, who earned $12,000 for his victory, broke the Liberty alumni 10-mile record of 47:32, set by Josh Cox in 2001.

Chelanga has been a contender in all three of his USATF Championships thus far. He previously placed second in the USATF 20K Championship on Sept. 7 in New Haven, Conn., and came in fourth in the USATF 5K Championship, Sept. 20 in Providence, R.I.

Chelanga's next race will bring him back to the Commonwealth. He is set to compete in the .US National 12K on Nov. 15 in Alexandria, Va.