Edward Cheserek’s historic career grounded by his love for his teammates and Eugene
At this year’s Pac-12 Cross Country Championships, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek thrust himself firmly amongst the likes of running greats Steve Prefontaine and Henry Rono by winning his third Pac-12 title
“It’s an honor in itself to be in the same breath as those studs and superstars,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said with a smile.
As a junior, Cheserek is an eight-time NCAA Champion, 10-time All-American, recipient of numerous Athlete of the Year awards and has led the Oregon men to a pair of NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“It means a lot, but I don’t let it go to my mind too much,” Cheserek said. “I focus on my teammates and how we are doing as a team.”
Cheserek is reserved and content to stay out of the spotlight when he isn’t thrust into it. There is a lot of chemistry amongst the Oregon runners, and he prefers to simply be one of the guys. He likes to relax away from the track and is always cracking jokes.
“I don’t think you could find anyone on the team who doesn’t like Ed,” Oregon redshirt sophomore Travis Neuman said. “He doesn’t have an ego, and in workouts he is always up for helping out the team.”
Cheserek loves his downtime, but when it comes to training, he is all business. He has a high work ethic, pushing to go beyond what is asked to improve as an athlete. That drive helps his teammates, especially the younger members on the squad. It was something Cheserek similarly took advantage of when he first joined the program, working with the upperclassmen to evolve as a runner.
“They influenced me a lot and helped me to keep doing my thing,” Cheserek said. “Running is not something easy, it’s hard.”
If anyone could make running a 10k easy, it’s Cheserek. He has the ability to turn on the afterburners and sprint away from the field at the flip of a switch.
“Almost at any point during a workout, he could drop anyone,” Neuman said, “but he sacrifices for the team. That is kind of rare, especially in the running world.”
That teamwork and camaraderie shows itself during races, when the Ducks will come up with a plan to run as a unit.
Cheserek has loved his time at Oregon. He traveled across the country from the east coast to attend the University that he felt most at home with, and after an initial culture shock he fell in love with the city.
“I call Eugene my hometown,” he said.
The city known as TrackTown, USA, is just as fond of Cheserek. The knowledgeable fan base recognizes the special talent before them. Every time Cheserek runs at Hayward Field, crowds show up to roar their approval. He gets stopped a lot walking around town, as fans want to shake his hand.
“I like to talk to them even if I don’t even know them,” Cheserek said, “trying to make friends and they are trying to make friends with me too.”
The future is bright for Cheserek as he has a chance to make noise on the international scene. For now though, Cheserek is happy right where he is.
“I wish I could have another couple of years,” he said.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
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