Cyclones place bids to final rounds of NCAA Championships

Iowa State’s Edward Kemboi participates in the men’s 800 meter-race on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.  

Stephen Koenigsfeld

Des Moines – After day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships, two of Iowa State’s four competitors will be moving on to the final heats of their events.

For Edward Kemboi, he said he ran a bit of a different race. Usually, Kemboi waits for the final 200-meters to use his famous kick and beat out his opponents.

But on Wednesday, Kemboi ran with the front of the pack, sitting in the fourth position after the first 400-meters.

“That was crazy,” Kemboi said. “It was the fastest first-400 I’ve ran. I was feeling great today.”

Even without the kick, Kemboi clocked a 1:46.20, barely losing the first place position to Iowa’s Erik Sowinski.

Kemboi said he didn’t have to rely on his kick as much Wednesday. He said he loves his kick, but once he started seeing everyone else move around him, he knew he had to go.

Later on in the evening, senior Kianna Elahi punched her ticket to the 400-meter hurdles finals. Elahi was all smiles as she crossed the finish line.

“It’s been my biggest goal, and it took four years to get there but I’m so excited that I finally did,” Elahi said.

Since the last time she competed at Drake, Elahi said she wanted to work on being smoother through the last few hurdles. Elahi said her stride progression was spot on throughout her race. 

“I knew that only the top two were automatically in,” Elahi said. “I’m just so thankful it was able to come together today.”

Elahi placed second in her heat to move on to the final round of her event with a time of 56.61.

Elahi’s 400-meter hurdle final will be at 5:45pm on Friday and Kemboi’s 800-meter final will be at 6:10pm on Friday. Action of the NCAA Outdoor Championships continues through Saturday evening.