Chelanga Breaks From The Pack
June 11, 2010
By Doug Binder
Special to NCAA.com
EUGENE, Ore. - Sam Chelanga left no doubt that he is the best college distance runner in the U.S. on Thursday.
The junior from Liberty split from the pack and ran virtually by himself for the final four miles of the 10,000 at the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Chelanga, who became the fastest collegian ever in the 10,000 earlier this spring, was simply at a higher level than the competition.
"I wasn't too surprised," Chelanga said after running 28 minutes, 37.40 seconds to win by 18 seconds.
Chelanga, from Nairobi, Kenya, gave Liberty University its first outdoor men's champion. On May 1 at Stanford's Payton Jordan Invitational he finished third in an elite field and ran 27:08.39 - running faster than the previous American record.
Chelanga, who also won the 2009 cross country title, was third in the 10,000 last year. He will try to win the 5,000 meters on Saturday.
It was only the fifth race of the season for Chelanga, who was fresh and never threatened. Josh Kosgei of Oklahoma State was second in 28:55.93 and Jake Riley of Stanford was third in 28:57.41.
Liberty is in a tied for sixth place with 10 points while Kansas and Texas A&M are tied for first after two days with 18 points each. Washington is alone in third with 16.5 points.
Kansas senior Jordan Scott, sporting a blue mohawk, won a marathon pole vault competition that was delayed by a rain shower and officiating mistakes that took time to sort out. He won with his clearance at 17 feet, 8 ½ inches, and fewer misses at earlier heights.
Defending outdoor champion Jason Colwick of Rice passed on the first two heights and missed all three of his attempts at 17-4 ½.
"It hurts (to lose) because this is my last competition and I didn't want to go out this way,'' Colwick said.
Scott said he felt fortunate to pull out the victory.
"Today I got lucky and got a good jump in," he said. "Those (delays) are variables you can't control. It's very confusing and complicated and it doesn't usually go very well."
In the javelin, Craig Kinsley of Brown threw a lifetime best to win the event at 250-3.
It was the first outdoor title for Brown since 1952.
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised, but definitely relieved and happy," Kinsley said. "I was well-prepared."
Kinsley's winning mark came on his fifth attempt.
Ashton Eaton of Oregon began his chase of a third straight decathlon title and produced a record-breaking first day with 4,500 points.
Eaton was the top competitor in three events - the 100, the long jump and the 400 meters. He is 133 points ahead of his first-day total from last year.
He broke the NCAA meet record and the American collegiate record (for decathlons) with his 400-meter time of 46.28 seconds - good for 994 points on the decathlon tables.
"(The crowd) helped me across the finish line to a PR time," Eaton said. "I noticed them on the backstretch and the homestretch. I can't run that fast by myself."
His first-day total is also an NCAA meet and American collegiate record.
Eaton said he was disappointed with his high jump and shot put, but poured his energy into the other events. He ran 10.37 in the 100 meters and went 25-11 in the long jump.