SportsTrack & Field

Edward Cheserek’s 17 titles make him the winningest NCAA track athlete ever

Will Cheserek quadruple? Will Cheserek become the first male athlete to get the triple?

These were some of the big question marks surrounding Oregon senior Edward Cheserek as he entered the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at College Station, Texas, this past weekend.

At the pre-meet press conference, even Cheserek himself could not testify whether he would be running in four races, saying that he was taking it one at a time.

As it turned out, Cheserek settled for two individual titles, a second place finish and another collegiate record as he earned his 17th individual title, the most in NCAA history.

The first question was answered by the end of the first day as Cheserek did not show in the distance medley, with teammate Blake Haney replacing him as anchor. Oregon finished fourth.

“Just want him to be ready to go for the mile and 3K coming up tomorrow,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said in an interview with Flotrack on his decision not to run Cheserek in the DMR.

Earlier, Cheserek had won the 5,000 meters easily in a time of 13 minutes, 41.20 seconds. But he had also run the mile prelim two and a half hours before, and there was only a 30-minute break between the 5,000 meters and the DMR.

On the second day of the championship, the possibility of Cheserek becoming the first man to triple was thrown out the window as New Mexico freshman Josh Kerr became one of the few who earned bragging rights of having dethroned “The King.”

Though Cheserek surged with 600 meters to go, Kerr found an opportunity, struck with 400 meters to go, and left Cheserek in his wake. He could not find the speed to challenge Kerr and slowed down in the final stretch. The 3,000-meter final was two hours after the mile, and Cheserek needed all the energy he could get.

Earlier in the season, Cheserek had set the collegiate record in the mile with his time of 3:52.01, but racing for a fast time is not the focus at championship meets, where the goal is to rack up as many points for the team as possible. For him, it meant spreading out his talents as wide as possible.

Over the span of two days, Cheserek ran the mile twice, a 3,000-meter and a 5,000-meter. That’s almost seven miles of racing.

In the 3,000 meters, Cheserek, who was the second-ranked athlete, ran conservatively and put in a kick at the end to finish first in 7:55.91 and bag his 17th NCAA title.

His wins in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, along with his silver in the mile, saw him contributing 28 of the men’s 38 points that led the Ducks to third in the team standings.

Before the NCAA indoor championships, Cheserek was tied with Suleiman Nyambui for the most number of NCAA titles. Cheserek is now truly in a league of his own with 17 to his name, and he still has an outdoor season to add more trophies to his collection.

Here is a history trail detailing each of Cheserek’s NCAA titles as he ran into the NCAA history books.

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Romaine Soh

Romaine Soh

Romaine is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in journalism. A budding track and field nerd, she is actively learning the technicalities of ball sports to compensate for her lack of hand-eye coordination.