CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY: Climbing The All-Time Scorers List
This is the latest in a series of posts based on the USTFCCCA’s NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships History page – the most comprehensive collection of the meet’s history anywhere on the web – leading up to the 2016 edition March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama. The page can be viewed in its entirety here.
NEW ORLEANS — There are only four men in NCAA Division I history who have scored 20 or more points at the Indoor Track & Field Championships in each of their first two years as collegians.
See if these names ring a bell: Suleiman Nyambui (1979-80), Erick Walder (1992-93), David Kimani (2000-01) and Edward Cheserek (2014-15).
Three of those men — Kimani, Nyambui and Walder — are among the all-time leaders in career scoring at NCAAs. Nyambui owns the record with an absurd 78 points, 18 more than Walder in second (60) and 23.5 more than Kimani’s fourth-place total (54.5).
Entering this weekend’s meet in Birmingham, Alabama, Cheserek is tied for 16th with Galen Rupp and Christian Taylor. They all tallied 40.5 points in their careers.
Here’s the thing, though: Cheserek is far from done.
Cheserek, only a junior, is scheduled to run in two individual events inside the Birmingham CrossPlex (3000, 5000) and is the No. 1 seed and overwhelming favorite in both. There is also an outside chance top-ranked Oregon wants to bolster its team title chances and uses him in the DMR on Friday night.
If Cheserek does what many come to expect from him and becomes just the second man in DI history to tally 20 or more points in his first three years (Walder is the other), he’d leapfrog everyone not named Nyambui on the all-time chart.
Even a first-and-second-place finish in his individual events — like he did last year in the mile and 3000 — would put him in third place. That’s some elite company.
There are two other athletes who aren’t on the same dominant level as Cheserek, but have an opportunity to further establish their legacies — Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson and Georgia’s Kendell Williams.
If Lawson wins the long jump for the second time in his career (2014) and finishes in the top-5 of the 60 meters, he’ll vault into the top-20. Lawson has scored 24.75 points to date, putting him in a tie with Andrew Bayer and Leo Manzano and right in front of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton (24.25).
What about Williams?
Well, Williams is currently tied for the second most points scored by a female athlete still in the NCAA system. Williams and teammate Leontia Kallenou have tallied 20 points in their careers (two wins each) and trail Texas’ Courtney Okolo by one (21).
By the end of the meet Williams, who is entered in three events (high jump, long jump and pentathlon), should become the active leader and could very well join the all-time greats. If Williams somehow finds a way to win each event, she’d be only the second woman in history to score 30 or more points at NCAAs (Carlette Guidry in 1988) and jump into a tie for sixth all-time (Kim Williams).
A more conservative estimate (14 points, based off her rankings) would see her still earn the active lead and inch closer to the top-15.
See, this is the joy of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. We get to see athletes place their handprints in the wet cement of history and take their shot at the record books one event at a time.
Be sure to check back throughout the week as we bring you inside the record book and plenty of coverage from Alabama.