17-Time NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek Chooses to Compete for Kenya In Olympic Year

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17-time All-American distance runner Edward Cheserek has decided to compete for Kenya at any upcoming global championship in track instead of waiting to become an American citizen to compete for the United States.

His agents have informed Athletics Kenya, the country's governing body for track and field, of Cheserek's decision.

"Edward has decided to go ahead and compete for Kenya if he can qualify," his agent and coach Stephen Haas told Sports Illustrated. "There is still an uncertain timeline for U.S. citizenships and he feels he can make teams and compete at the highest level."

Cheserek has been a star since his high school days at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J. He went on to attend the University of Oregon, where he became the most decorated NCAA distance runner of all-time with 17 national championships. After he graduated in 2017, he signed a professional contract to run for Skechers.

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He owns personal bests of 3:49.44 for one mile indoors, 13:04.44 for 5,000 meters and 28:30.18 for 10,000 meters outdoors. With Cheserek set to turn 26 on Feb. 2, the decision has been made before he can miss another major global championship while in his athletic prime.

Cheserek has been working with immigration lawyers to oversee his citizenship case, which may have slowed down since President Donald Trump was elected. According to a New York Times profile from Feb. 2019, Cheserek was in the United States on a one-year P1 visa, which is given to athletes and artists to live and work in the country.

Cheserek lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz. He will be running the 3,000 meters in Boston this weekend at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix looking to hit a qualifying time for March's World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China.