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Chelanga Added to Liberty Open 5K Field

January 27, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga will race on Liberty's campus for the first time in two years, when he runs the 5K at the Liberty Open, Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Sam Chelanga will race on Liberty's campus for the first time in two years, when he runs the 5K at the Liberty Open, Friday at 6:30 p.m.

For the first time in over two years, three-time NCAA national champion and 10-time All-American Sam Chelanga will race on his home track. The Liberty redshirt senior has been added to the Liberty Open men's 5K, which is slated to go off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center.

Chelanga will race in a special invitational section of the 5K, alongside redshirt senior teammate Josh Edmonds and Liberty assistant coach Derek Scott. Edmonds, who is currently listed No. 3 nationally in the 5K at 14:25.89 and Scott, who owns a 5K personal-best time of 13:47.28, will help set a fast tempo.

Chelanga is aiming to become the first men's 5K runner to automatically qualify for the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled for March 11-12 in College Station, Texas. In order to do so, he will need to run a time of 13:50.80 or faster.

Chelanga is already a three-time All-American in the 5K at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, placing fourth in 2007 and second in both 2009 and 2010. He is also the second-fastest men's indoor 5K runner in collegiate history, after running a 13:19.79 on Feb. 13, 2009.

This will be Chelanga's first race on Liberty's campus since Jan. 24, 2009. That day, in his first track & field race sporting a Liberty Flames uniform, Chelanga won the 3K title at the Liberty Open in a time of 8:08.77.

Chelanga got his final collegiate indoor track & field season off to a successful start on Friday at the Hokie Invitational. He won the mile with a personal-best time of 4:03.84, earning Big South Co-Men's Indoor Track Athlete of the Honors and ranking No. 4 nationally in the event.

The two-day Liberty Open will get started Friday at 12:30 p.m., when the gun goes off for the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. Athletes from 25 different colleges are entered in the meet, and admission is free to all spectators.