The Legend of King Cheserek Grows Even Bigger – Edward Cheserek Wins Two More NCAA Titles Thanks To 3:52 DMR Anchor Less than 35 Minutes After 5000 Win

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by LetsRun.com
March 11, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oregon junior Edward Cheserek’s fame continued to grow tonight as he picked up two more NCAA titles. The first, totally expected. The second, surprisingly supreme.

To get things started, Cheserek put his personal number of individual titles into the double digits as he won individual NCAA title #10 (3 xc, 4 indoors, 3 outdoors) by dusting Virginia Tech’s Thomas Curtin over the final 400 of the men’s 5000, closing in 57.68 to win in 13:47.89.

Then the #1 question of these championships was answered. As Cheserek exited the hydraulic banked track after winning the 5000, he was greeted by a member of the Oregon training staff as well as distance coach Andy Powell. They hurriedly helped Cheserek take off his spikes and get him back into his trainers so he could both cool down from the 5k and warm up for the DMR which was scheduled to start just over 26 minutes after Cheserek had won the 5000. A meet official said, “We need him to go the awards stand right now.” A Duck staffer replied, “He has another race to run.” And what a race it would be.

We took a photo of the Oregon crew talking to the NCAA staffer:

Edward Cheserek Completes Double With DMRIn the end, Cheserek had about 32 minutes of rest before he was handed the baton on the anchor leg of the DMR with Oregon in fourth, but the Ducks were just .79 of a second off the lead. Washington’s Izaic Yorks – the fastest American collegiate miler in history (3:53.89) – was in 2nd, .68 ahead of Cheserek. And Yorks tried his best to harm Cheserek. He took it out hard – 55 for the first 400. No worries, Cheserek was right with him. They then banged out 30-flat laps until the final 200 when Cheserek ripped off a 28 to become an even bigger legend.

Three minutes, 52.84 seconds after he got the baton, Edward Cheserek crossed the finish line first at an NCAA championship for the 12th time in his career (Oregon also won the DMR last year) as the Ducks won in a meet-record 9:27.27.

Earlier, in the 5000, where Cheserek was HEAVILY favored, Cheserek’s victory wasn’t nearly as dramatic. Virginia Tech’s Thomas Curtin, who had gapped Cheserek early at the Pre-Nationals in cross country and held on for a shock victory, took things our very hard, 30.16 for the first 200 and 61.39 for the first 400 – either hoping to somehow gap Cheserek once again or at least make him work for the title.

By 600, Curtin, Cheserek and Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy had more than a second on the rest of the field and it would only continue to grow as the chase pack raised the white flag as they ran over 70 seconds from 600 to 1k.

Kibichiy would stay with the eventual top two for 2k before losing contact. He’d then run in no man’s land for another 11 laps before being totally swallowed up by the chase pack. Once caught by the chase pack, Kibichiy had no response as he ended up next to last in 14:24.42.

Curtin, however, would be rewarded with a much-deserved second place finish. In looking back at the splits, Curtin really only ran super fast for the first 1600. At 1600, his split of 4:17.15 was more than 10 seconds up over the chase pack. That lead would grow a little bit over the next 1600 (4:33.64/8:50.79), as the chase pack was 12.91 seconds back at 3200. At 3600, the chasers were still nearly 13 seconds back (12.95) and while they’d get close to Curtin – Colorado’s Pierce Murphy was 3.01 seconds down with 200 to go – Curtin had enough in reserve to secure second (29.20 final 200, all lap-by-lap splits here).

Results and quick takes below.

Men’s 5000 Results

PlaceAthleteAffiliationTime
1Edward CheserekJROregon13:47.9
2Thomas CurtinSRVirginia Tech13:50.7
3Pierce MurphySRColorado13:52.2
4Futsum ZienasellassieJRNorthern Arizona13:52.3
5Luis VargasSRNC State13:52.8
6Morgan PearsonSRColorado13:53.2
7Ryan WallingSRMississippi13:53.5
8Colin BennieSOSyracuse13:53.6
9Jake LeingangSOOregon14:00.3
10Daniel EverettSRIowa State14:00.7
11Aaron NelsonSRWashington14:00.7
12Gabe GonzalezSRArkansas14:01.3
13Marc ScottJRTulsa14:04.9
14Jerrell MockJRColorado St.14:07.1
15Edwin KibichiyJRLouisville14:24.4
16Dylan LafondJRIllinois14:34.9

Men’s DMR Results

  1 Oregon                                            9:29.89    9:27.27M  10   
     1) Matthew Maton FR                2) Ben Thiel JR                   
     3) Grant Grosvenor SR              4) Edward Cheserek JR             
       2:58.579 (2:58.579)          3:46.618 (48.040)        5:34.431 (1:47.813)
       9:27.267 (3:52.837)
  2 Washington                                        9:27.19    9:28.00F   8   
     1) Colby Gilbert SO                2) Jacopo Spano SO                
     3) Blake Nelson JR                 4) Izaic Yorks SR                 
       2:56.540 (2:56.540)          3:43.592 (47.053)        5:33.758 (1:50.166)
       9:27.998 (3:54.240)
  3 Mississippi                                       9:30.48    9:31.82F   6   
     1) Robert Domanic JR               2) Derek Gutierrez SO             
     3) Craig Engels JR                 4) Sean Tobin SO                  
       2:55.836 (2:55.836)          3:46.064 (50.228)        5:34.055 (1:47.992)
       9:31.813 (3:57.758)
  4 Stanford                                          9:27.27    9:33.85F   5   
     1) Thomas Coyle JR                 2) Jackson Shumway JR             
     3) Justin Brinkley JR              4) Sean McGorty SO                
       2:58.051 (2:58.051)          3:46.019 (47.968)        5:35.656 (1:49.638)
       9:33.843 (3:58.187)
  5 Oklahoma State                                    9:26.60    9:34.21F   4   
     1) Chad Noelle SR                  2) Brandon Singleton SO           
     3) Tre'Tez Kinnaird JR             4) Joshua Thompson SO             
       2:57.714 (2:57.714)          3:45.601 (47.887)        5:34.526 (1:48.926)
       9:34.207 (3:59.681)
  6 Villanova                                         9:29.17    9:34.30F   3   
     1) Robert Denault SR               2) Harry Purcell FR               
     3) Elliot Slade SO                 4) Jordan Williamsz SR            
       2:57.646 (2:57.646)          3:45.965 (48.320)        5:34.604 (1:48.639)
       9:34.297 (3:59.694)
  7 UCLA                                              9:29.61    9:34.39F   2   
     1) Ferdinand Edman SR              2) Joe Herrera SO                 
     3) Nick Hartle SR                  4) Austin O'Neil SR               
       2:56.973 (2:56.973)          3:45.046 (48.074)        5:33.645 (1:48.599)
       9:34.387 (4:00.743)
  8 Michigan                                          9:27.67    9:37.45F   1   
     1) Connor Mora SO                  2) Taylor McLaughlin FR           
     3) Brennan Munley SO               4) Mason Ferlic SR                
       3:02.012 (3:02.012)          3:48.371 (46.359)        5:37.743 (1:49.373)
       9:37.444 (3:59.701)
  9 Penn State                                        9:27.20    9:50.64F 
     1) Jordan Makins SO                2) Alex Shisler SR                
     3) Robert Rhodes SR                4) Colin Abert FR                 
       2:58.519 (2:58.519)          3:47.011 (48.493)        5:39.276 (1:52.266)
       9:50.635 (4:11.359)
 10 Virginia                                          9:27.89    9:53.16F 
     1) Robby Keough FR                 2) Nathan Kiley JR                
     3) Kenneth Hagen SO                4) Matthew Novak FR               
       3:04.336 (3:04.336)          3:51.726 (47.390)        5:42.801 (1:51.075)
       9:53.156 (4:10.356)
 11 Oklahoma                                          9:27.70    9:55.12  
     1) Allen Eke SR                    2) Traveyon Armstrong SR          
     3) Jacob Goldberg SO               4) Liam Meirow SO                 
       3:00.075 (3:00.075)          3:49.169 (49.095)        5:40.432 (1:51.263)
       9:55.111 (4:14.680)
 12 Georgetown                                        9:28.91   10:29.70  
     1) Michael Lederhouse JR           2) Joseph White SO                
     3) Amos Bartelsmeyer JR            4) Ahmed Bile SR                  
       3:03.216 (3:03.216)          3:54.278 (51.062)        5:49.550 (1:55.273)
      10:29.696 (4:40.146)

Quick Take #1: Thank you Oregon for doubling Edward Cheserek today.

If at the end of these championships, Oregon had won yet another team title and Cheserek had simply won the 3k and 5k as expected, the general reaction would have been, “Nothing big, we’ve seen that before.” But to see Cheserek split a 3:52 less than 35 minutes after winning the 5000 is something track fans will be talking about for decades.

The other half of the LetsRun.com staff watched this race with former Oregon coach Vin Lananna on a computer screen in Portland. They said Lananna knew it was over once Cheserek got the stick close to the lead. Afterwards, Lananna revealed his only worry was Oregon keeping it close on the first leg as with 12 teams in the field it can get crowded and runners can fall (as two teams did tonight). As long as they stayed close on the 1200 (and sub-4 HSer Matthew Maton handed off in 7th but the Ducks were just over two seconds down of UW), he thought they’d win it. An unsung hero for Oregon was 800-meter man Grant Grosvenor, who had the fastest 800 split of the night (1:47.82).

When we asked Lananna how small of a time gap between the 5000 and DMR would be required for Cheserek to lose tonight, he said no gap could have stopped Cheserek. In a bit of hyperbole that we almost want to believe, Lananana said Cheserek could have anchored the DMR at the end of the 5000 and still delivered.

Quick Take #2: As great as this was to watch, we don’t think this was the greatest double in NCAA or track and field history.

We’re not sure what’s better but there are several options listed here:

MB: Cheserek: Greatest double in track and field history?

Lawi Lalang was pretty special at NCAAs just three years ago. He won the mile by front running a meet record of 3:54.74. He then came back about one hour and 41 minutes later and won 3000 and won in another meet record of 7:45.95. The meet record times are certainly impressive but the feat becomes all the more impressive when you consider the quality of his competition. In the mile, he beat both Ryan Hill and Chris O’Hare. In the 3000, he beat Hill, Kennedy Kithuka, Anthony Rotich, Diego Estrada, Andy Bayer, Thomas Farrell and Eric Jenkins. Combined his challengers won 10 NCAA titles (Rotich (4 NCAA titles), Jenkins/Kithuka (2 NCAA titles), Bayer/O’Hare (1 NCAA title)).

Quick Take #3: Curtin was very happy to have finished second but said he got a little antsy and went out a bit faster than he had planned.

While his gap on the chase pack was being reduced over the final laps, Curtin said he never got nervous as he was feeling pretty good and knew he had a response in the tank.

Quick Take #4: Cheserek’s double might have thrilled the fans, but he shrugged it off as just another day at the office.

Quick Take #5: Yorks had no regrets about his strategy.

You just have to tip your cap to the great Edward Cheserek.

Quick Take #6: Post-Race Interview with NAU’s Futsum Zienasellassie, who went from 8th to 4th on the last lap.