Ed Cheserek, Eric Jenkins, NCAA 2015, photo by Cheryl Treworgy/Pretty Sporty
Last night, Ed Cheserek won his 14th NCAA title, with his tactical 10,000 meter win, his third at the distance. Track geeks reminded us that the last time someone won three 10ks in a row was the great Suleiman Nyambui in 1981-1983!
Here is LIndsay Rossmillers’ column on the happenings at Day one
Recapping Day One of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
By: Lindsay Rossmiller
EUGENE, Ore.- As Edward Cheserek came around the last lap of the 10,000 meters in the outdoor NCAA track and field championships, he looked around to see who was behind him. Then he opened up a gap down the backstretch and ran his last lap in 57.24 seconds to win his fourteenth NCAA championship and third straight 10,000 meter title in front of over 9,000 fans.
Cheserek (Oregon) won in 29 minutes, 9.57 seconds. In a race that remained bunched up for the first 8,000 meters, Futzum Zienasellassie (Northern Arizona) challenged and even held the lead with three laps to go, but mustered 29:10.68 for second. Arkansas’ Gabe Gonzalez was third in 29:11.09.
Long jump champion Jarrion Lawson (Arkansas) had a busy day as he also qualified for Friday’s finals in the 100 and 200 meters.
“Times like these is just when preparation meets opportunity,” said Lawson, who also earned the NCAA indoor long jump title this past winter.
After battling some knee injuries in prior years, Lawson was happy to be healthy and able to complete multiple events which ultimately led to his winning jump of 8.15 meters.
“Running the 200 helped me in the fact that it slowed me down a little bit so it kind of helped me from scratching so I was able to get on the board the next two jumps,” said Lawson.
And as he looks forward to Friday, his day off in between competition will require lots of rest. He’ll have to be ready for the 100, 200, and 4×100 finals.
“I’m looking for another national championship,” said Lawson.
In the 800, Texas A & M’s freshman Donavan Brazier ran the second fastest all-time collegiate time (to Jim Ryun’s 1:44.3 from 1966) with 1:45.07 to lower his PR for the second time this year.
After, Brazier admitted he wasn’t even sure who Jim Ryun was and said he just wanted to run 1:45 after touching it once this season indoors.
“I don’t really focus on those records or anything because there’s still guys that have better times than me,” said Brazier.
The men’s 800 is shaping up to be one of the best finals of the championships. Pre-race favorites Mississippi State’s Brandon McBride and BYU’s Shaquille Walker won the first and third heats respectively to advance.
In the steeplechase, Michigan’s Mason Ferlic approached the first water jump with his eyes narrowed in determination.
A year ago as the favorite in the 2015 NCAA outdoor championships, Ferlic fell head first into the same water jump in the finals to finish twelfth with one of the most memorable falls in recent memory and what Ferlic calls a “classic fail video.” This time, things were different.
“I just wanted to be smooth and clean,” said Ferlic. “I used that prelim there to erase any doubts or any fears I had about the barrier.”
And even though his experience in 2015 was difficult, Ferlic can now laugh about it.
“It’s great to have a sense of humor about something that was really disappointing at the time and I think it’s kind of a defining part of my college career,” he said.
On Wednesday, he was the top qualifier of his heat in 8:36.11. Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy had the fastest qualifier in 8:33.56.
Ferlic isn’t worried about Friday’s final or about being considered the favorite again coming into the 2016 championships.
“It’s the nature of the steeple, there’s always a risk involved and I’m not going to let that weigh me down or get in my mind,” said Ferlic. “I feel like I can compartmentalize what happened [last year] and really just do my best on Friday.”
Virginia’s Henry Wynne fulfilled expectations and qualified first in the men’s 1500 meters. It was the first time Wynne faced Washington’s Izaic Yorks since each competes on opposite coasts. Wynne qualified with the top time of 3:40.62 and Yorks ran 3:40.87.
Clayton Murphy (Akron) and Brannon Kidder (Penn State) jumped up from their former 800 meter distance and led the first semifinal after closing in 52 seconds. Murphy ran 3:49.03 and Kidder ran 3:49.06. Murphy represented the U.S.A. at the IAAF World Championships last summer in Beijing in the 800.
Oklahoma State’s Nick Miller won the hammer throw on his final throw 73.98 over Cornell’s Rudy Winkler (72.84).
Tennessee’s Jake Blankenship won the pole vault at 5.6 meters. He improved on his second-place finish from 2015.
Mississippi State sophomore Curtis Thompson won the javelin with a throw of 77.64. Ioannis Kyriazis took second with his final throw of 77.25.
Virginia junior Filip Mihaljevic won the shot put (20.71). Mihaljevic won the bronze at the 2016 World Indoor Championships for Croatia.
In the men’s 100, Senoj-Jay Givens (Texas) set a new PR of 9.96 over his former best from one year ago and was the only man under 10 seconds.
2014 110 hurdles NCAA champion Devon Allen made a case for his comeback as he qualified first with 13.38.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (LSU) took the top qualifier of the 200 in 20.17.
In the decathlon, Zach Ziemek (Wisconsin) set a new PRs in the 400 meters (49.04) to lead after day one.
The first round of the women’s championships will begin Thursday The rest of the men’s finals will take place on Friday and can be watched on ESPN’s networks.