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Chelanga Blazes No. 2 All-Time NCAA 5K

February 13, 2009  Fayetteville, Ark.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga sped to the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in NCAA history Friday evening, posting a 13:19.79 at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Sam Chelanga sped to the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in NCAA history Friday evening, posting a 13:19.79 at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

In a compelling reprise of their duel at the 2008 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga and Oregon senior Galen Rupp combined to rewrite the NCAA record book for the 5,000-meter run, Friday night at the prestigious Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Chelanga ended up finishing third in a tight, three-man battle, clocking the No. 2 all-time collegiate mark, 13:19.79.

Chelanga's (Nairobi, Kenya) time, which sliced 18 seconds off of the existing Liberty and Big South records of Liberty graduate assistant Josh McDougal, left him just behind Ethiopian professional runner Bekana Daba and Rupp in a three-man sprint to the tape.

Daba held off the collegiate duo in a winning time of 13:17.89, as the first three runners all shattered the existing facility record (13:28.93) at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Rupp came in second, but his time of 13:18.12 set both a new American record and a new collegiate standard.

The race was taped by ESPN and will be aired on the network Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m., kicking off two hours of Tyson Invitational coverage.

The pace gradually picked up as the race progressed, with the lead pack covering the first mile in 4:18 and the second mile in 4:17. A blazing final mile enabled Chelanga and Rupp to become the first collegiate performers to run faster than 13:28 indoors in the last 27 years. Chelanga ran his last 800 meters in 2:01, including 58 seconds for the final 400 meters.

Chelanga's time is an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 13-14 at Texas A&M's brand-new Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The sophomore previously posted a provisional qualifier at 3,000 meters, at last weekend's Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup.

Matt Parker (Sr., Rome, N.Y.) ran the prelims of the men's 60-meter hurdles Friday afternoon. The Empire State native finished 22nd with a time of 8.24 seconds.

Clarence Powell (So., Marianna, Fla.) will be the first of four Liberty athletes to compete in the Tyson Invitational on Saturday. He will participate in the college section of the men's high jump, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.