Edward Cheserek pulls out yet another Pac-12 title at 10,000 meters

Oregon distance runner Edward Cheserek races in the 10,000m final. The University of Oregon hosts the PAC 12 Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday May 13, 2017. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Sure, Edward Cheserek admits, he’s got a lot of titles. They come in all shapes and sizes. He’s racked up 17 NCAA titles, 14 on the track and three by cross country. And six Pac-12 titles — four cross country and two on the track.

So, after coasting to a win in the final of the 10,000-meter run on Saturday at the Pac-12 track and field championships, Cheserek admitted space has definitely become an issue. Any why not? He’s two NCAA titles away from becoming the most decorated NCAA athlete in any sport.

Saturday, he earned yet another piece of hardware.

“I keep adding them, but I don’t know what I can do with this,” Cheserek said amid a laugh. “I have a lot in my house. I don’t have the space to put it.”

Cheserek finished in 29 minutes, 11.76 seconds for the win. Cal’s Trent Brendel came home second in 29:20.52 and Oregon redshirt freshman Tanner Anderson took third in 29:21.43.

Cheserek’s win helped the Ducks take a 13-point lead over UCLA for the top spot in the Pac-12 Championships. Action concludes on Sunday at Hayward Field where the Duck men are gunning for their 11th consecutive team title.

Oregon distance runner Edward Cheserek wipes his face while racing in the 10,000m final. The University of Oregon hosts the PAC 12 Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday May 13, 2017. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

But for Cheserek, the 10,000-meter race on Saturday is just part of his season-ending progression. Cheserek is also entered in Sunday’s 5,000 final but didn’t answer a question from a reporter on if he will line up.

“I always just worry about the first one and then go talk to my coach and think about the next race,” he said. “One at a time.”

Later, Oregon head coach Robert Johnson told reporters Cheserek won’t run on Sunday.

“I’ll tell you right now,” Johnson said. “Cheserek is not going to run the 5k tomorrow.”

Cheserek took over the race with five laps remaining. He kicked past Cal’s Robert Brandt then increased his lead lap by lap. Washington State’s Michael Williams, who finished fourth, gave chase for a few laps, but didn’t have the stamina to compete with one of the sport’s top distance athletes.

The field persevered through a flurry of rain showers that dispatched some of the fans in attendance. But many stuck around to watch Cheserek race in one of his final meets as a collegiate athlete at Hayward Field.

“I was surprised when I saw (the fans),” Cheserek said. “I was like, ‘It’s raining out.’ And everybody was still out there just enjoying it and watching us.”

The Oregon senior will shift his focus after the Pac-12 Championships wrap up.

“My plan is to keep training hard until NCAAs,” he said. “The next thing is regionals then after that, NCAA. Try to stay healthy, try to get stronger and then NCAA.

Anderson, just a freshman, has enjoyed his time so far at Oregon training alongside one of the school’s most prolific winners. Cheserek has taught Anderson the ins and outs of nutrition and training this season — something Anderson knows will come in handy many years down the road.

“Ed helped me tune it to what’s really important to being a good distance runner,” said Anderson, who said his race plan was to stay in fifth and then make his move. He said that moment came with 800 meters to go.

Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne

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