Edward Cheserek is a freak. He's already got 10 NCAA national championships and could easily pick up a few more this weekend. But the question that everyone wants to know, is how many? Cheserek is entered in the 5k and the 3k, and there's rumblings that he's going to try to match Rupp's feat from 2009 and also run the DMR. There's been a lot of speculation on whether he will run the DMR, with the big issue being the short turn around time between Friday night's 5k and the DMR. At best, he would probably only have 30 minutes between the two races, and Oregon has plenty of other talented runners who would be fresh for the race. The heat list does not include him in the DMR, but let's assume that he goes for it. Let's assume that Cheserek wants to secure 30 points for the Duck's and match Rupp's feat. Can it be done? Let's first take a look at Rupp's accomplishment.
Galen Rupp's 2008-2009 cross country and track seasons were nothing short of incredible. In one school year, he won 6 NCAA titles. This accomplishment also included being part of Oregon's team championships in cross country and indoor track, which the latter had an absolutely stacked lineup including Ashton Eaton and Andrew Wheating. It all got started for him on the Friday night in the 5k with a winning time of 13:41 with Liberty's Sam Chelanga providing a challenge. The DMR shortly after was a bit closer for Rupp. Wheating ran the third leg and handed it off to Rupp with the Ducks in second place. Rupp was able to pass Arkansas and earn the team 10 valuable points. On Saturday, Rupp cruised to victory in the 3k with a winning time of 7:48. His next closest competitor was Michael Coe of Cal-Berkeley, who came in at 7:54.
Rupp's accomplishment was legendary and helped the Ducks clinch teh national championship. It was the first time that an individual athlete had won the 3k, 5k, and anchored the DMR in the same NCAA indoor championship, a feat that has not been accomplished since.
If there's anyone to match Rupp's feat, it's Cheserek. He has a wicked finishing kick that made him a beast in cross country and should bode well for this weekend. Last year, he raced the mile instead of the 5k and won the mile, but took second place in the 3k behind teammate Eric Jenkins in a race that saw Oregon go 1-2-3. Jenkins has graduated, so who is Cheserek's biggest competition? let's take a look:
Thomas Curtain-Virginia Tech. He was 8th place in the 5k last year and is entered again this year. He's got a season best of 13:37, which is only two seconds behind Cheserek and second best in the field. What makes Curtain a threat is history. Curtain upset Cheserek at the pre-nats cross country meet last fall in Louisville, and the senior would like to have a championship to his legacy.
Pierce Murphy-Colorado. Murphy boasts an impressive personal best of 13:39 and a 6th place finish at last year's NCAA indoors and was 3rd in XC. If the race starts off slow, Murphy could be a threat on Friday night.
Patrick Tiernan-Villanova. The 6 time All-American is a beast on the track, and could pose a threat in the 3k on Saturday. The XC runner-up has a season best 3k time of 7:48. If Cheserek does the 5k and the DMR on Saturday, Tiernan stands a chance to take down the fatigued runner.
Justyn Knight-Syracuse. The Orange are riding high after winning the team XC championship last fall, but Knight is dreaming big in the 3k. He won the 3k at the ACC championships and has a season best time of 7:48.
Now, let's look at Cheserek. His personal bests are quite impressive- 7:40 in the 3k and 13:18 in the 5k- and he's won plenty of races this year already. He no doubt is the total favorite for the 5k on Friday, and he's got an impressive team for the DMR, so will he have the legs for the 3k on Saturday? I think he does. I think a tired Cheserek has enough in the tank to take down Tiernan and all challenges. Why? Simply because Cheserek is a champion. He already has 10 NCAA national championships, and he knows how rare this feat is. He knows that only Rupp has done it, and Rupp has an olympic silver medal. The DMR will be his closest race, but I think Cheserek will be sitting on the throne on Saturday.