The words of Jordy Williamsz of Villanova were simple but eloquent as he described the performance of Oregon's Edward Cheserek during their final-lap duel in the men's distance-medley relay Friday at the 121st Penn Relays.
"He's good, man. He's real good," Williamsz said.
Cheserek, a sophomore who grew up in Kenya, bided his time in the 1,600-meter anchor leg and passed Williamsz with about 150 meters to go, lifting the Ducks to their second straight victory in the DMR and blunting a determined effort from Villanova.
It was the third time in his career that Cheserek anchored Oregon to victory at the Franklin Field carnival, and men's distance coach Andy Powell certainly likes having someone like him laying down the hammer.
"It's nice having Ed on the end," Powell said. "I like having him in the races. But still anything can happen. Villanova ran a really good race. Jordy, he's a relay guy and I think he's about as close as anyone's gotten to Ed. So it was a great job by him. But Ed continues to impress."
Leadoff man Johnny Gregorek (1,200-meter leg) and Marcus Chambers (400) managed to avoid a collision on the first handoff, and Chambers and Niki Franzmair (800) got the baton to Cheserek in second place, just as Powell had requested.
A three-way battle among Oregon, Villanova and Columbia turned into a two-man race on the last lap. Williamsz, who was in the lead, and Cheserek both accelerated with 250 meters to go, and Cheserek caught Williamsz and kept his foot on the gas to the finish in 9 minutes, 33.86 seconds. The Wildcats crossed in 9:34.36.
"I was prepared," said Cheserek, who graduated from St. Benedict's Prep in North Jersey. "I was just waiting for him to come. He led a little bit but then I went in the last 200 meters."
"I'm the kind of guy that likes to feel like I achieved what I wanted, so there was more I could do," said Williamsz, who was timed for 1,600 meters in 3:58.94, a half-second faster than Cheserek. "I really wanted to win. I thought we could."
Oregon later picked up another Championship of America title when the Ducks' women captured the sprint medley in 3:44.59, thanks to a sensational 800-meter anchor leg by Annie Leblanc. The first two runners, Jasmine Todd and Jenna Prandini, were on the Ducks' 4x100 team that dropped the baton in Thursday's qualifying.
The Texas A&M women picked up their seventh consecutive victory in the 4x100, with Aaliyah Brown anchoring to a time of 43.76 seconds in her first relay as a member of the Aggies.
"It's a great experience just to come out here and to know this was our seventh time to [win] against all these people," Brown said. "We came out here and dominated. It was a great feeling."
Stanford won its first relay here since 2006 when a strong anchor leg by Claudia Saunders enabled the Cardinal to pull away from North Carolina in the 4x1500-meter relay in a time of 17:27.54. Villanova, winner of Thursday's distance medley, opted not to compete, choosing to focus on Saturday's 4x800.
The shuttle hurdles relay championships were won by Louisiana State, capturing the women's crown for the fourth time in the last six years in 54.22, and South Carolina on the men's side in 55.53.
Penn State got a 1:48.90 anchor leg in the 800 from Brannon Kidder to overtake LSU and win the men's sprint medley title in 3:21.29.
Jamaica's University of Technology posted the fastest time in both the men's 4x100 (39.74) and 4x200 (1:22.78) qualifying while the UTech women ran 1:32.88 in the 4x200 to lead that event. LSU topped the men's 4x400 qualifying in 3:08.81.