Men’s distance relay shocks field, Kemboi takes title at NCAA Indoor National Championships


Jessica Darland/Iowa State Daily

Senior Edward Kemboi received first place in the men’s 800-meter run with a time of 1:48.68. The Big 12 Indoor Championship took place at Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Feb. 28. Texas took the trophies for both men’s and women’s track and field.

Kyle Heim

The ISU men’s track and field team traveled south for the NCAA Indoor National Championships, but its ranking took the opposite direction.

After entering the championships ranked 24th, the Cyclones needed only two days and five athletes to place inside the top 10.

For Iowa State, nationals began and ended with senior Edward Kemboi.

And the Eldoret, Kenya native didn’t disappoint.

Kemboi began his title run in the 800-meter run by placing first in the preliminaries with a time of 1:48.04 during the first day of the championships on March 13.

A year ago, Kemboi finished runner-up in the finals of the 800-meter run at the NCAA championships. This year, Kemboi had experience working in his favor.

“I lost to myself last year. I put myself into trouble,” Kemboi said. “This year I was trying to stay away from trouble.

Less than an hour and a half after the preliminaries of the 800-meter, Kemboi led off for the men’s distance medley relay, gaining a sizeable lead for his following three teammates.

Redshirt senior Brandon Barnes, redshirt senior Patrick Peterson and sophomore Christian DeLago each followed with strong performances, contributing to a third place team finish in the event. The pack finished the race in 9:32.48 minutes, registering the second fastest time in school history.

“[Finishing third] was so amazing,” Kemboi said. “I didn’t even expect that and I was like, ‘OK, this run will give me motivation for the [800-meter final].’”

Day two for Iowa State began with redshirt senior high jumper Cameron Ostrowski, who cleared a height of 2.20 meters, finishing ninth overall.

In the final event for Iowa State, Kemboi proved why he was ranked No. 1 in the 800-meter entering the championships. In the last event of his ISU indoor career, Kemboi took the title for the first time in his career.

The Cyclones finished in a three-way tie with USC and Akron for ninth place in team scoring. And even though the indoor season has ended, the outdoor season lies right around the corner, presenting an opportunity for the team to build upon the success it experienced during the indoor season.