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Chelanga, Frazee Voted BSC Athletes of Year

July 16, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Megan Frazee (left) and Sam Chelanga swept the Big South Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year honors on Thursday. (Chelanga photo courtesy Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Megan Frazee (left) and Sam Chelanga swept the Big South Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year honors on Thursday. (Chelanga photo courtesy Kirby Lee/Image of Sport)

Liberty redshirt sophomore distance standout Sam Chelanga and Lady Flames senior women's basketball player Megan Frazee have been named the Big South Conference Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year for the 2008-09 season by the league's athletic directors, senior woman administrators and sports information directors.

Liberty swept the male and female honors for the second straight year and the third time in the 10-year history of the awards. Last year, distance runner Josh McDougal and Frazee (Xenia, Ohio) captured the prestigious honors. Meanwhile, baseball player Keith Butler and volleyball standout Anthonia Akpama won the inaugural Big South Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year awards in 2000.

Chelanga (Nairobi, Kenya), who earned a trio of All-America awards and set the all-time NCAA 10K record during his first season of competition for the Flames, is the fourth straight Liberty distance runner to be voted Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year. McDougal earned three consecutive conference awards, between 2006 and 2008.

Chelanga earned 85 points and nine first-place votes, finishing ahead of Liberty football All-American running back Rashad Jennings, who tallied 73 points and seven first-place votes. Radford tennis standout Martin Sayer was third in the voting with 52 points and two first-place votes, followed by the Highlanders' basketball All-American, Artsiom Parakhouski (49 points, two first-place votes). Coastal Carolina sophomore baseball pitcher Cody Wheeler received 43 points and one first-place vote to round out the top five male vote-getters.

Meanwhile, Frazee becomes the first conference student-athlete (male or female) ever to win both the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year awards in the same season. Additionally, she is the second player ever to be voted Big South Female Student-Athlete of the Year in back-to-back seasons, joining her current teammate on the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars, 2005 Liberty graduate Katie (Feenstra) Mattera.

Frazee received 123 points and 20 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Winthrop softball star Lisa Kingsmore for the second straight year. Kingsmore was second with 94 points and five first-place votes. Liberty volleyball All-American setter Kallie Corbin was third with 36 points, while Lady Flames track & field athlete Marie Williams was fourth with 27 points. Coastal Carolina sprinter Ikeiylah Brown finished fifth in the voting with 26 points and received one first-place vote.

Chelanga joined McDougal as the only Liberty student-athletes ever to enjoy a "Triple Crown" All-America year, including cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. Chelanga placed second at the 2008 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, and also earned a runner-up finish in the 5K at the 2009 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. He then wrapped up his year by taking third place in the 10K final at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In Chelanga's 18 individual cross country and track races this year, he only lost to two collegiate runners—Oregon senior Galen Rupp and Arkansas senior Shawn Forrest.

Chelanga broke four Liberty and Big South records this year and one NCAA national record. On April 24, the Kenya native won the 10K at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, Calif., blazing a time of 27:28.48 to set an all-time NCAA standard for the event. He also clocked the second-fastest indoor 5K time (13:19.79) in NCAA history, Feb. 13 in Fayetteville, Ark. On the cross country course, Chelanga lowered the Liberty and conference standards to 22:51.3 for the 8K distance and 29:08.0 for the 10K.

At the conference level, Chelanga helped the Flames sweep the Big South cross country, indoor track and outdoor track team championships and claim second place at the IC4A outdoor meet. He won individual Big South titles in cross country, the indoor mile and the outdoor 1,500 and 5K. His 5K clocking at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, 14:01.89, broke McDougal's meet record.

Chelanga received numerous awards this year, including the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Men's Athlete of the Year distinction for both cross country and outdoor track. He was also named the Big South Co-Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year and Big South Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year. Chelanga was a seven-time Big South Athlete of the Week and a four-time ECAC Division I Athlete of the Week.

Frazee was recognized on a national level for her prowess on the court and in the classroom, during her final season with the Lady Flames. The 6-3 guard/forward was tabbed an honorable mention Associated Press All-American, as well as a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. Frazee was one of only five NCAA Division I women's basketball players in the nation to be included on both lists.

As a senior, Frazee led the Big South in both scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg) and finished as one of only three players in the country to rank in the top 25 for both categories. Her efforts helped the Lady Flames go 24-9 and claim their 12th Big South title in the last 13 seasons.

Frazee won a number of Big South recognitions, including the Big South Player of the Year and Championship MVP trophies. She was a six-time Big South Player of the Week in 2008-09, giving her a conference-record 18 player of the week honors during her career. Frazee also repeated as Richmond Times-Dispatch State Player of the Year and was voted Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Co-State Player of the Year.

A consistent offensive contributor, Frazee scored in double figures a school-record and nation-leading 68 straight times, before the streak was halted during the Lady Flames' NCAA Tournament tilt against Final Four qualifier Louisville. She notched 14 double-doubles on the season, enabling her to break Katie Feenstra's school record with 50 career double-doubles.

Shortly after her collegiate career concluded, Frazee was taken by the San Antonio Silver Stars with the No. 14 pick of the 2009 WNBA Draft. She is currently playing for the defending Western Conference champion Silver Stars.

In March 2000, the Big South Conference Executive Committee voted to create an annual Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year award, and name the male award in honor of Howard Bagwell, one of the founders of the Big South Conference. The annual nominees consist of the players of the year from each sport for the regular season most recently completed.

Big South Howard Bagwell Male Student-Athlete of the Year
2008-09 Sam Chelanga, Liberty (track & field)
2007-08 Josh McDougal, Liberty (track & field)
2006-07 Josh McDougal, Liberty (track & field)
2005-06 Josh McDougal, Liberty (track & field)

2004-05 Mike Costanzo, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2003-04 Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2002-03 Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina (soccer)
2001-02 Justin Owens, Coastal Carolina (baseball)
2000-01 Jason Colson, Winthrop (baseball)
1999-00 Keith Butler, Liberty (baseball)

Big South Female Student-Athlete of the Year
2008-09 Megan Frazee, Liberty (basketball)
2007-08 Megan Frazee, Liberty (basketball)

2006-07 Aruka Felgueroso, Coastal Carolina (golf)
2005-06 Tiffany Evans, Radford (track & field)
2004-05 Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)
2003-04 Katie Feenstra, Liberty (basketball)

2002-03 Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)
2001-02 Heather Sagan, Liberty (track & field)
2000-01 Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina (track & field)
1999-00 Anthonia Akpama, Liberty (volleyball)