PHILADELPHIA -- The men’s distance medley relay is a combined total of 4,000 meters, and Oregon was in a battle for 3,700 of those Friday until the Ducks’ anchor, Edward Cheserek, decided to let loose at the Penn Relays.
The freshman three-time NCAA champion flew past Stanford’s Michael Atchoo and Kentucky’s Jordan Williamsz on the back stretch with 300 meters to go in his mile-long anchor leg, increasing his lead with every stride. The Newark, N.J., native crossed the finish line with a three-second advantage on the field in a time of 9:25.40, the fastest in school history which moves Oregon up to the seventh-fastest school in NCAA history. Cheserek’s mile split was clocked at 3:57.98.
“Any time you get a chance to win a Penn Wheel is a good thing,” head coach Robert Johnson said. “To come here on the East Coast and showcase those guys in the DMR is excellent. Coach Powell put together a great strategy and it worked perfectly.”
NCAA Champion Mac Fleet started the race in the 1,200 (2:53.95), passing the baton off in a close second behind Stanford. Oregon’s 400-meter All-American, Mike Berry, took the lead during the second leg (44.72) and Boru Guyota ran his 800 leg in 1:48.77, handing off only meters behind the Cardinal.
The three seniors set the stage for Cheserek, who performed what has become a signature for the freshman, sitting in second before unleashing a hefty kick.
“We have such a good, deep team,” associate head coach Andy Powell said. “Really the credit goes to our seniors. When you have good leadership you go a long ways.”
The win was Oregon’s second in the DMR at the Penn Relays, after earning a wheel in 2010. It is also the seventh overall win for the Ducks in the meet’s history.