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Chelanga, Klugh Recognized by Big South

October 6, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga (left) and Jennifer Klugh swept the Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week awards.

Sam Chelanga (left) and Jennifer Klugh swept the Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week awards.

For the second time in the last three weeks, Liberty has swept the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men's and Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week honors. Redshirt senior Sam Chelanga and redshirt sophomore Jennifer Klugh are this week's award winners, after their outstanding performances at Friday's Brooks Paul Short Run.

Chelanga, the defending NCAA national cross country champion, has now won five Big South Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week honors during his three years with the Flames. This week's recognition came as a result of his individual victory at the Brooks Paul Short Run, in his 2010 season debut.

Chelanga took command of the race early, building a seven-second lead after a 4:38 opening mile. He never looked back, winning the men's gold 8K race by 15 seconds with an official clocking of 23:34 on a muddy course. It was the second Brooks Paul Short Run title in the last three years for Chelanga.

Chelanga's performance contributed to a strong showing for the Liberty men's team. The Flames finished eighth out of 42 teams in the highly-competitive gold race, a performance which bumped them up to No. 9 in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region poll.

The soggy conditions did not hinder Klugh's performance either. Her time of 20:58 in the women's gold 6K race set a new program record, improving upon Piper Newby's previous mark of 21:07 from the 2007 season. The effort, a new personal best for Klugh by more than a minute, netted an 18th-place finish in the field of 367 runners.

Klugh, one of three Lady Flames to post a sub-21:30 time, helped Liberty finish 13th overall in the final team standings. It was a seven-place improvement from the Lady Flames' 20th-place showing at the 2008 Brooks Paul Short Run.

Liberty will be back in action on Oct. 16, when the Flames and Lady Flames head to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-Nationals meet. The races will be contested at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, site of the 2010 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.