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Chelanga Remains Undefeated at 3,000 Meters

February 21, 2009  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Sam Chelanga (left) has won all three of his 3,000-meter races during the 2008-09 indoor track & field season. (Photo courtesy Arkansas Media Relations)

Sam Chelanga (left) has won all three of his 3,000-meter races during the 2008-09 indoor track & field season. (Photo courtesy Arkansas Media Relations)

Liberty sophomore Sam Chelanga clocked a personal-best 3,000-meter time of 7:57.85, rolling to victory at the Virginia Tech Challenge, Saturday afternoon at the Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Va. The meet served as Liberty's final tune-up for next week's Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya) improved his spot on the NCAA provisional qualifying list for the event, by cutting three seconds off of his previous season-best clocking. He has now won all three of his 3,000-meter races this season, by an average of 17 seconds. Chelanga's winning margin on Saturday was 12.19 seconds, over runner-up Ryan Hill.

Also in action on Saturday was junior Chenoa Freeman (Lincoln, Del.). Freeman, who battled injury through the early part of the indoor season, showed that she is returning to form in her specialty event, the 400-meter dash. The junior won her heat of the 400 with a season-best time of 56.91 seconds and finished seventh out of 51 entrants. Freeman's time, which placed her second among collegiate competitors, was an ECAC qualifier.

In the men's 400-meter dash, another Liberty athlete—Chris Best (R-Fr., Charlottesville, Va.)—recorded his best time of the season, at 51.12 seconds. His effort was good for 31st place out of 53 participants.

The Liberty men's and women's track & field teams will travel to Clemson, S.C., Thursday and Friday for the 2009 New Balance Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Flames will seek their 12th consecutive conference title, while the Lady Flames aim to return to the top of the awards podium for the first time since 2005. The two-day meet will begin at noon Thursday, with the start of the women's pentathlon competition.