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Chelanga, Watson Qualify for NCAA Indoor

March 8, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga (left) and Jaime Watson will both represent Liberty at this weekend's 2010 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Sam Chelanga (left) and Jaime Watson will both represent Liberty at this weekend's 2010 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Liberty redshirt junior Sam Chelanga and redshirt senior Jaime Watson have both qualified for this weekend's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., it was announced tonight.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya) will run the men's 5K for the third time at this meet, while Watson (Ravenna, Mich.) will be making her NCAA national meet debut, in the women's 800. Both athletes will begin competition Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Chelanga is seeded No. 2 in the men's 5K, after posting a season-best time of 13:44.16 at the Tyson Invitational, Feb. 12 at the Randal Tyson Track Center. He will run the 5K final Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Chelanga, a six-time All-American, placed fourth in the 5K at the 2007 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships and was the 5K runner-up at the 2009 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Meanwhile, Watson is the No. 15 seed in the women's 800. She qualified for the national meet on Saturday, by running a Liberty and Big South Conference-record time of 2:05.42 in the ECAC Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships preliminaries in Boston. The Michigan native is slated to run in the prelims at 8:10 p.m. Eastern Friday evening. The final is set for 8:45 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.

Watson has enjoyed a stellar senior season, earning Big South Women's Outstanding Track Performer honors as well as a trio of Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Week distinctions. She has also set school records in the 400 (54.59), 500 (1:13.98), 800 (2:05.42) and 4 x 800 relay (9:15.21).

Watson is the first Lady Flame to qualify for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships since 2005, when Kena Butts competed in the high jump.