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LU Men's Track Ties for 40th at NCAA Meet

June 13, 2009  Fayetteville, Ark.  RSS
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The Liberty men's team shared 40th place at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The Liberty men's team shared 40th place at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

For the third consecutive season, the Liberty men's track & field team placed in the top 40 at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Flames ended up in a tie for 40th place at the national meet, which concluded Saturday afternoon at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark.

Head coach Brant Tolsma's Flames, who previously captured the Big South title and the IC4A runner-up trophy this season, were part of an eight-way deadlock. Albany, Brown, Butler, Clemson, New Mexico, Northern Iowa and UTEP all matched Liberty's final team score of six points. Liberty was the only Big South men's team to score a point at the NCAA meet and ranked second behind Virginia Tech (16th place) among Commonwealth institutions.

Texas A&M came from behind during the meet's final event, the 4 x 400 relay, to win the men's team national championship with 48 points. Florida, Florida State and Oregon each tallied 46 points, tying for second place in a hotly-contested battle.

Liberty's points came courtesy of Sam Chelanga's (R-So., Nairobi, Kenya) third-place showing in Thursday night's men's 10,000-meter final. Chelanga, who led much of the 25-lap race, clocked a 28:35.40 for his third All-America honor of the year and the fifth of his career.

The Flames also had three other athletes compete in Fayetteville this week. Daniel Newell (R-Sr., Roanoke, Va.) scored a career-high 7,302 points to take 16th place in the decathlon. Fellow senior Matt Parker (Rome, N.Y.) narrowly missed making the men's high jump finals, clearing 6-8.75 to tie for 16th place. Finally, freshman John Talbert (Newton, Kan.) heaved the discus 174-2, claiming 23rd place in the prelims.

Liberty will send freshmen Ryan Smith (Winder, Ga.) and Ryan Bell (New Wilmington, Pa.) to Eugene, Ore., June 25-28, for the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Smith will throw the shot put, while Bell will compete in the javelin. Meanwhile, Liberty assistant coach Clendon Henderson is entered in the discus while former Lady Flames standout Danielle McNaney will contest the heptathlon at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, during the same four days in Eugene.