Oregon’s phenomenal freshman, Edward Cheserek, delighted a crowd of 9,165 spectators at Hayward Field on Wednesday night when he unleashed a blistering kick to win the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track &Field Championships.
It was the fourth national title in as many tries for the native Kenyan, who was content to bide his time for most of the race before rocketing to the lead with 250 meters left. He sprinted across the finish line in a time of 28 minutes, 30.18 seconds.
Cheserek’s final 200 was an eye-popping 24.8 seconds to finish off a sensational last lap of 53.17, which had the crowd roaring and the rest of the 10,000-meter field gasping for air.
“I always save for the last 400,” Cheserek said. “I don’t run out crazy, just relax and try to run smart.”
“Absolutely phenomenal,” Oregon track and field coach Robert Johnson said. “You just don’t get kids like that as freshmen who come in to be as dominant as he is.”
And Cheserek, the first freshman to win the NCAA 10,000 since UTEP’s Suleiman Nyambui in 1979, isn’t finished. He’ll be back on the track in the 5,000 meters on Friday night.
If he can pull off one more amazing finish, and come away with the victory, he will match Rupp’s signature 2008-09 season, in which the two-time Olympian won five NCAA titles – cross country, indoors at 3,000 and 5,000, and outdoors at 5,000 and 10,000.
Rupp was rewarded that season by being named the inaugural winner of The Bowerman, which is given to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes each year.