Chelanga Highlights XC Action with Win at Pre-Nationals

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Chelanga Wins Again at Pre-Nationals
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Sam Chelanga enjoyed a comfortable victory in the men's 8K white race, highlighting Liberty's showing at Saturday's Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. Meanwhile, Jennifer Klugh's 36th-place effort highlighted the Lady Flames' performance in the women's 6K blue race.

Chelanga's second career Pre-Nationals victory led the Liberty men's squad to its best finish ever at this meet, 10th place out of 36 entrants. The Flames' score of 378, also aided by Evans Kigen's 20th-place finish, put them ahead of two nationally-ranked teams. Liberty defeated No. 21 Tulsa and No. 25 Minnesota in the final standings. Two other nationally-ranked squads topped the men's white race standings, as No. 16 Oklahoma defeated No. 19 BYU by a 106-138 margin.

The Lady Flames totaled 657 points, placing 28th out of 38 teams in the women's blue race, the first of the day's six races at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. It was a five-place improvement from Liberty's showing at the 2009 Pre-Nationals and put the Lady Flames one spot ahead of Commonwealth and Southeast Region rival William & Mary. No. 3 Florida State won the team title with 115 points, followed by No. 6 Arizona's 128 team score.

As he has done many times in his career, Chelanga raced out to the front of the pack from the opening gun and never looked back. The redshirt senior clocked an impressive 4:23 opening mile over the course's undulating terrain, in his first visit to Terre Haute since winning the 2009 NCAA national title here.

The course record holder at both the 8K and 10K distances, Chelanga then went on to post a winning 8K time of 23:19.9, his best effort so far this season. Chelanga crossed the finish line 12 seconds ahead of N.C. State's Ryan Hill, as Liberty's fifth individual Pre-Nationals champion in the last six years. Josh McDougal claimed three straight Pre-Nationals crowns, between 2005 and 2007.

Kigen, who earned All-America honors at Terre Haute a season ago, made a sizable improvement from last year's Pre-Nationals race. In 2009, he placed 57th with a 24:38.2. This time around, he took advantage of the nearly ideal running conditions and firm footing to come in 20th out of 241 runners in 24:11.8.

Josh Edmonds, like Chelanga and Kigen a redshirt senior, recorded his best 8K time of the season, 24:42.9. That placed him 62nd overall. Rounding out the Flames' top five were redshirt senior Jake Reed and true freshman Josh MacDonald. Reed finished 125th with a 25:18.0, while MacDonald was 170th at 25:49.1.

Edmonds' younger brother Caleb Edmonds enjoyed a personal-best performance on Saturday. His 26:05.4 clocking netted a 190th-place finish. Mark Hopely was the Flames' No. 7 performer on the day, coming in 232nd with an official time of 27:32.5.

On the women's side, Klugh steadily moved up through the field on the rolling 6K course, before finishing with a couple program superlatives. Prior to Saturday, Liberty's best-ever women's performance at Pre-Nationals was fashioned by Piper Newby in 2007. Newby placed 63rd with a 21:22.5 effort. Klugh finished 27 places and 21 seconds ahead of Newby's performance, stopping the clock at 21:01.6. It was the second-fastest 6K in Liberty history, trailing only Klugh's record 20:58 effort from the Brooks Paul Short Run on Oct. 1.

Seniors Dacia Bushman and Hailey Neal went back and forth several times during the race, before crossing the line nearly side by side. Bushman came in 83rd out of 261 finishers in 21:32.4, with Neal just seven-tenths of a second behind her in 85th place.

Senior Rod'Esther Castor and sophomore Khristina Kanagy closed out the Lady Flames' top five. Castor was 223rd in 22:57.5, while Kanagy took 233rd in 23:11.9.

Katie Russo, the lone freshman in the Lady Flames' top seven on Saturday, came in 244th with a 23:24.0 clocking, while junior Denise Troyer was 247th in 23:30.5.

Liberty will return to action two weeks from now, at the Big South Cross Country Championships. The meet, hosted by Radford at Blacksburg Middle School, will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 30 with the women's 5K race. The men's 8K championship will follow at 11:30.

The Flames will seek their sixth straight Big South title, while the Lady Flames will attempt to defend their conference crown from 2009. Individually, Chelanga enters the meet as the two-time defending Big South men's cross country champion.

Winthrop Runs Well in Home Meet
ROCK HILL, SC--For the first time in the 36 years since Winthrop began its cross country program, both the men's and women's squads had at least the top five finishers in both races in Saturday's 2010 Asics Fall Classic.  The Eagle men had the top six places in the 6K event with Adam Freudenthal leading the way while the Lady Eagles the top five runners and six of the top seven in the women's 4K race.

The meet was the final tune-up for the Big South Conference Championship which will be held Oct. 30 in Blacksburg, VA.

Freudenthal, a junior from Spartanburg, SC who was the Big South Men's Runner of the Week for his performance at Furman a week ago, covered the distance in a time of 18:35.63 to finish 46 seconds ahead of sophomore  teammate AJ Fitzsimmons (Charleston, SC) who was timed in 19:21.93.  Freudenthal has in the  top 10 in all five meets this fall.

Freshman Jeanne Stroud (Charleston, SC), who was coming off her selection as Women's Big South Runner of the Week, breezed to a 38-second win over freshman teammate Shayna Jenkins (Columbia, SC).  Stroud ran the 4K in 14:40.31.  For Stroud it was her fourth top 10 finish of the season.

The Winthrop men finished with 15 points to finish well ahead of second place Presbyterian College (54).  On the women's side, the Lady Eagles compiled 16 points while PC ran second with 61.

Here are Winthrop's men's individual results: Adam Freudenthal (1st, 18:35.63), AJ Fitzsimmons (2nd, 19:21.93), Steve Rivard (freshman, Goose Creek, SC, 3rd, 20:01.31), Adam Leroux (sophomore, Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, 4th, 20:19.75), Ted Nisbett (sophomore, Boiling Springs, SC, 5th, 20:20.02), Kyle Carufe (junior, Naples, FL, 6th, 20:20.05), Sammy Livingston (freshman, 10th, 21:19.78), Zach Parker (freshman, 11th, 21:33.09).

The Winthrop women's individual results are as follows:  Jeanne Stroud (1st, 14:40.31), Shayna Jenkins (2nd, 15:18.30), Jennifer Schofield (sophomore, Hatfield, PA, 3rd, 15:43.92), Lisa Nichols (freshman, Fort Mill, SC, 4th, 15:51.54), Tori Koterba (junior, Rock Hill, SC, 6th, 15:58.73), Jaclyn Warden (freshman, 7th, 16:42.28), Chantelle Davidson (junior, Seneca, SC, 28th, 20:31.77).

Presbyterian College Men's Cross Country Claims Second At Asics Fall Classic 
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Three Presbyterian College cross country runners finished in the top-ten at the 2010 Asics Fall Classic hosted by Winthrop on Saturday morning. The men's team claimed second place overall while the women's team claimed fourth.

Senior Nicholas Baer led the men's team in the 6k race with a time of 20:39. Fellow senior Adam Harris finished ninth overall at 21:11. Freshman Seth Warner finished 12th with a time of 21:34 with fellow freshman Richard Taylor finishing 13th at 21:48. Junior Josh Morrisette finished fifth for PC and 15th overall at 23:16. Freshman Kevin Quan was close behind at 23:45 for 17th place.  Sophomore Brian Trail finished 18th at 24:12, and junior Will Ruark finished 19th at 24:20.

The men's team finished second place overall with a team score of 54 points and average time of 21:42. Winthrop's Adam Freudenthal won the 6k race with a time of 18:35, while the Eagles won the men's championship with a perfect score of 15 points.

Junior Stephanie Newell claimed her first collegiate top-ten finish and led PC on the 4k course with a time of 17:17 and 10th place overall. Senior Natalie Parkman finished 13th with a time of 18:29 with junior Sabrina Baker just behind for 14th place at 18:33. Baker used a strong finish to hold off Fort Valley State's Raven Wilson by two-hundredths of a second in the most exciting finish of the day. Sophomore Emily Witt finished 17th with a time of 19:01. Freshman Mary Kathryn Piontek finished in 19:55 to claim 23rd.

The women's team finished fourth overall with 77 points and average time of 18:39. Winthrop won the team title with a nearly perfect score of 16 points. They were led by individual champion Jeanne Stroud with a time of 14:40.

The Blue Hose will race again at the Big South Conference's Cross Country Championships on October 30, in Blacksburg, Va. The race is hosted by Radford University and will be the last race of the season for PC. Although they will be competing, due to the transition to Division I, they will not be scored as a team.