DI Championships: Liberty's Sam Chelanga Wins Title Again

Sam Chelanga didn't want to win a boring race this time.So rather than run away from the field, as the Liberty senior did in a 25-second championship win last year, Chelanga hung back with Arizona's Stephen Sambu on Monday until the final straightaway, when his prolific stamina took over.

After running shoulder to shoulder with Sambu for the entire race, Chelanga burst ahead to a four-second lead to win his second consecutive individual NCAA Division I men’s cross country championship at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championship Course.

Chelanga finished the 10k race in 29 minutes, 22 seconds, nearly 40 seconds slower than last year’s time, but enough to defend his title against Sambu and Oregon’s Luke Puskedra.

“Last year, I thought it was boring, just me running away,” Chelanga said. “So I’m gonna keep this race exciting. If you’re home watching (a big lead) on the screen, it’s not fun at all to watch.”