April 25, 2014
Indoors, it wasn’t a fair fight. A totally fresh Stanford men’s distance medley relay dominated the NCAA indoor championships in the event: Men’s DMR: A Fresh Stanford Team Gets Dominant Victory As Oregon Picks Up More Valuable Team Points In Second. Oregon was second, but Oregon didn’t run its individual NCAA champions in Mac Fleet and Edward Cheserek.
Today, Oregon was at full strength (Fleet, the 2013 NCAA 1,500 champ, ran the opening 1,200 leg and the NCAA XC/3,000/5,000 champ Edward Cheserek anchored), all of the teams were fresh and the Ducks ended up the convincing winners of the men’s DMR at the Penn Relays in 9:25.40 as the Oregon super-frosh Cheserek was simply SENSATIONAL over the last 300. He turned on the jets with less than 300 to go and ran a 53.9 last lap and 3:57.98 anchor leg to give Oregon the win. Stanford had the lead heading into the last leg, but Michael Atchoo only could manage a 4:03.21 at the end and they ended up third in 9:29.66 as Villanova, thanks to a 3:57.26 split from Jordan Williamsz, ended up second. Kentucky was fourth in 9:30.52 but deserved better than that as they got very brave runs on the lead-off and anchor.
Oregon led off with 2013 NCAA 1,500 champ Mac Fleet and he didn’t disappoint as his 2:53.95 was the second best of the day. The big surprise on the first leg was how good Kentucky’s Keffri Neal (the SEC Indoor 800 champ and 1:47/3:44 guy) was. He blew by Fleet and handed off in the lead after a 2:53.70 leg as the top three teams of Oregon, Kentucky and Stanford were at least 10 meters clear of everyone else.
At NCAA indoors, Stanford was dominant on the 400 thanks to the great carry of Olympic finalist Steven Solomon. Today, Solomon split 44.96 but Oregon’s Mike Berry was even better (44.72). Solomon went out super-fast and grabbed the lead from Berry on the backstretch but Berry measured his effort very well and came back during the last 100.
Stanford led by half a second going into the 800 leg but But Stanford’s Luke Lefebure had the second best split of anyone (1:47.20), much better than Oregon’s Boru Guyota (who went out in 50 point (1:48.77) and the Cardinal were up by .98 heading into the anchor. Cheserek then got right behind Atchoo and did what he does best – just bide his time and wait until the end of the race.
Atchoo led for the first 1,200 of the anchor leg as he went 59.1, 63.2, 62.8. The slowing of the pace allowed two teams that were way back – Kentucky with Matt Hillenbrand and Villanova with Williamsz – to catch back up with a little more than 500 to go. As they hit the bell, it was Kentucky’s Hillenbrand (eventual 3:59.63 split), the SEC 3,000 and mile champ indoors who has a 3:57.00 mile PR, who took the lead as Cheserek briefly was in third for a second or two. Cheserek soon moved passed Atchoo, who wasn’t on his game today over the final 400.
It was now a two-person battle for victory. Given how far Hillenbrand had come from behind (nearly 4 full seconds behind Cheserek at the bell) and how accomplished Cheserek is (he hasn’t lost a track race in college and has won 3 NCAA titles), the fact that Cheserek got the win wasn’t surprising. But man was it fun to watch. Cheserek hit the jets with a little bit less than 300 to go and it looked like he had hit turbo in a video game. Hillenbrand was left looking like he was standing still.
The crowd went wild as anyone with their eyes open would have to realize Cheserek is a special talent. Hillenbrand would end up getting caught by Jordan Williamsz, who ran a smarter leg, but not one likely to produce victory.
Quick Thought #1: The following screen shots tell the story of the last lap perfectly.
At the bell:
On the backstretch:
Roughy 100 meters later:
Quick Take #2: Cheserek looked incredible. Any doubts as to whether the XC, 3,000 and 5,000 NCAA champion would be able to kick with the milers were erased today. Watching this kick has got to make Lawi Lalang nervous for NCAA outdoors.
Quick Take #3: Neal and Hillenbrand, Kentucky’s first and last legs, were very impressive. They ran very boldly. No one in this race was beating Cheserek today but it would have been interesting to see if Oregon could have beaten Kentucky if you swapped out their 400 and 800 legs. Kentucky lost to Oregon by 5.12 seconds today but Kentucky lost 3.72 of that on the 400 and 800. If you spot them 3.72 on those legs, it would have been interesting.
- Penn Relays (@thepennrelays) April 25, 2014
|1||Oregon||9:25.40||Mac Fleet (2:53.95), Mike Berry (44.72), Boru Guyota (1:48.77), Edward Cheserek (3:57.98)||AC|
|2||Villanova||9:28.93||Sam McEntee (2:56.03), Samuel Ellison (46.29), Dusty Solis (1:49.36), Jordan Williamsz (3:57.26)||AG|
|3||Stanford||9:29.66||Tyler Stutzman (2:54.30), Steven Solomon (44.96), Luke Lefebure (1:47.20), Michael Atchoo (4:03.21)||AB|
|4||Kentucky||9:30.52||Keffri Neal (2:53.70), Terence Boyd (47.63), Robbie Scharold (1:49.58), Matt Hillenbrand (3:59.63)||AQ|
|5||Indiana||9:34.60||Jordan Gornall (2:57.99), Derrick Morgan (47.19), Tretez Kinnaird (1:48.28), Rorey Hunter (4:01.15)||AD|
|6||Columbia||9:37.67||Brendon Fish (2:56.55), Noah Lartigue (48.05), Harry McFann (1:46.93), John Gregorek (4:06.14)||AE|
|7||La Salle||9:39.31||Nick Ross (2:58.25), Cris Hunter (48.43), Chris Sanders (1:48.35), Alfredo Santana (4:04.29)||AN|
|8||Air Force||9:40.12||Zach Perkins (2:56.39), Alex Lindsay (49.23), Matt Dorsey (1:50.48), Patrick Corona (4:04.03)||AJ|
|9||Georgetown||9:40.17||Cole Williams (2:58.61), Hansel Akers (47.65), Billy Ledder (1:49.19), Michael Lederhouse (4:04.73)||AH|
|10||Texas A&M||9:48.32||Cameron Villarreal (2:59.08), Gregory Coleman (46.76), Josh Hernandez (1:50.28), Isaac Spencer (4:12.22)||AM|
|11||Providence||9:52.99||Julian Saad (3:00.60), Austin King (48.86), Joseph Vercollone (1:53.48), Julian Oakley (4:10.08)||AS|
|12||Navy||9:54.99||Weston Kennedy (2:58.84), Roberto Swersky (50.02), Joshua Kingsland (1:49.70), Sean Rynning (4:16.44)||AU|
|13||UMass/Lowell||9:57.78||Drew Butler (3:03.00), Keith Lewis (47.77), David Brown (1:54.80), Robert Allen (4:12.23)||AK|
|14||Texas||9:58.99||Brady Turnbull (3:01.24), Pieter Conradie (47.90), Robert Uhr (1:57.39), John McNamara (4:12.47)||AO|
|15||UConn||9:59.33||Michael O’Donnell (3:00.76), John Rettenmeier (48.44), Philip Caldwell (1:50.08), Nicholas Bertoline (4:20.06)||AR|
|16||Cornell||10:03.50||Sam Belcher (3:04.22), William Gibson (49.82), John Schilkowsky (1:58.55), Ben Rainero (4:10.93)||AT|
More: Discuss this race in our forum: Who you got? 2014 Penn Relays men’s DMR? Penn State, Stanford, Nova or Oregon?