Distance runners earn All-American honors to close out NCAA Championships

Festus Lagat gets set to cross the finish line during the 4×800-meter relay event at the Drake Relays on April 23. 

Adarsh Tamma

Iowa State track and field concluded its events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Friday in Eugene, Oregon. The Cyclones had two athletes competing in two events on the track at Hayward Field to close out the season.

In Thursday’s action, junior Cailie Logue collected Second Team All-American Honors in the women’s 10,000-meter final by finishing 14th. The Big 12 5K and 10K champion started off the race in the middle of the pack, going through the first 5,200 meters in 14th place with a time of 17:11.69.

The quick pace continued over the last half, as Alabama sophomore Mercy Chelengat and Oregon senior Carmela Cardama Baez separated themselves from the remaining field at the 8,000-meter mark, and Logue continued to stay in the chase pack. Baez was able to out-kick Chelengat over the last lap to win in a personal best time of 32:16.13. Logue ended her season by clocking a collegiate-best time of 33:07.63. Her all-time best mark of 32:19.37, which she ran at the track meet in December, qualified her for one more race at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 26 at Hayward Field.

The Cyclone men first ran in the 800-meter final Friday, as senior Festus Lagat competed in his final race as an Iowa State athlete. In a hotly contested race, Lagat hung at the back of the field through the first lap, running 52.48 seconds over the first 400 meters.

At the bell, USC senior Isaiah Jewett and Texas A&M freshman Brandon Miller surged ahead of the pack to contest for the top spot. Jewett just edged out Miller at the tape to break his own personal best with a time of 1:44.68. Lagat was the only athlete on the field to not break their personal best, finishing fifth in a time of 1:46.33 to collect First Team All-American Honors. He leaves Iowa State having run the fastest time in program history in the 800 meters, having done so at the 2019 NCAA Championships by finishing third in another fast race with a time of 1:45.05.

Wesley Kiptoo closed out the meet for the Cyclones by competing in the 5,000-meter final. Just like in the 10,000 meters Wednesday evening, Kiptoo took the lead and pushed the pace early, passing through the 1,000-meter mark with a time of 2:35.85 as the rest of the field followed close behind. Georgetown senior Robert Brandt overtook Kiptoo at the 2,600-meter mark, but the pair was still in lockstep with split times of 6:57.95 and 6:58.24.

Just like in the 10,000 meters, Kiptoo’s initial quick pace proved to be a slingshot for the rest of the field, as Campbell junior Athanas Kioko took the lead at 3,400 meters with a split time of 62.08 seconds. The quartet of Kioko, Brandt and the junior pair of Northern Arizona’s Luis Grijalva and Oregon’s Cooper Teare separated themselves from the field to battle for the lead as Kiptoo fell back to 10th place. Over the last lap, Teare managed to out-kick Grijalva to win the title in a meet record time of 13:12.27, which is also the second-fastest time in collegiate history. Kiptoo collected Second Team All-American honors once again by finishing 13th in a time of 13:30.87, with the top 12 ahead of him all breaking their personal bests.

Iowa State finished the meet with six athletes collecting All-American honors, as the Cyclone men finished tied for 33rd in the team standings with 9 points.