Spencer Allen/IOS via AP Images

Edward Cheserek finishes his career at Oregon with the most Division I NCAA titles by a male athlete.

By Chris Chavez
May 22, 2017

University of Oregon distance runner Edward Cheserek has finishes his collegiate career as the most decorated male Division I athlete of all-time. The senior was forced to withdraw from next weekend's NCAA West Preliminary Regional meet in Austin, Texas due to a lower back injury, which eliminates any chance of competing at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships next month in Eugene, Oregon.

"This is a minor injury that could potentially become worse if he runs on it too soon," Oregon track and field head coach Robert Johnson announced. "As much as Edward would like to run, it is our responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of our student-athletes and in this case, it means taking Edward out of the regional meet. "

The back injury kept Cheserek from competing at the Penn Relays in April. He returned to competition earlier this month and ran a 13:24.72 for 5,000 meters at Stanford and then won the 10,000 meters at the Pac-12 championships on May 13.

Cheserek finishes with 17 NCAA titles, which is the most ever by any runner. In 21 NCAA championship finals, Cheserek came away with 17 crowns, three second place finishes and one third-place finish. He is arguably one of the most dominant distance runners in collegiate history.

At the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March, Cheserek added his 16th and 17th titles with wins in the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, which broke his tie with UTEP great Suleiman Nyambui, who won 15 NCAA from 1978 to 1982.

Most NCAA titles (XC, Indoor and Outdoor track and field)

1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon –17

2. Suleiman Nyambui, UTEP – 15

3. Gerry Lindgren, Wahsington State – 11

4. Erick Walder, Arkansas – 10

5. Robert Howard, Arkansas – 9

Former Stanford swimmer Jenny Thompson owns 19 NCAA titles and is the only NCAA Division I athlete that has won more championships. Cheserek could have ran the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to tie Thompson but the injury has dashed any of those hopes.

Cheserek will likely ink a professional contract soon to continue his running career as a post-collegiate athlete. In addition to success at the championship stage, Cheserek has flashed record-setting speed. In February, he set the NCAA record in the mile by running 3:52.01 at an indoor meet in Boston. He also still holds the high school indoor records in the two-mile (8:39.15) and 5,000 meters (13:57.04) from his days as a star at St. Benedict's high school in Newark, New Jersey.

Cheserek has a bright future as a professional and could possibly contend for an Olympic team spot for 2020. He was born in Kenya and arrived in the United States in 2010. Cheserek has never competed internationally for Kenya and has filed paperwork to become a United States citizen.

Edward Cheserek by the numbers

3 - NCAA cross country individual national titles

5 - NCAA outdoor individual national titles

9 - NCAA indoor individual national titles

3:52.01 - personal best for the mile

13:18.71 - personal best for 5,000 meters

28:30.18 - personal best for 10,000 meters

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