Before this past weekend's NCAA DI Indoor Championships, we republished this article from 2014 that outlines the bizarre trajectory of collegiate record-holders in the indoor mile. Since 1974, no male athlete has set the NCAA record and won the NCAA title in the same year.
When Edward Cheserek lowered Lawi Lalang's 2014 record from 3:52.88 to 3:52.01 at the BU Last Chance Meet in February, pundits expected the Oregon Duck to finally reverse the curse.
After all, to that point in time, "King Ches" had captured gold in 15 of 18 appearances at NCAA finals.
This past weekend in College Station, Texas, Ches won the 5K and 3K titles as expected. He even skipped the DMR to rest for his mile final. But no one told New Mexico's redshirt freshman Josh Kerr about Cheserek's record mile. Or, the Scotland native already knew the curse's full effects were forthcoming. Either way, Kerr took charge at 1200m and never looked back, coasting to victory two full seconds ahead of Ches: 4:03.22 to 4:05.42.
Track fans were shocked. But former record-holders weren't.
The NCAA Mile collegiate record curse is real— Chris O'Hare (@chrisohare1500) March 11, 2017
Here's a brief history of NCAA DI record-holders in the mile and their results at the subsequent national championship:
|1974||3:55.0 (HT)||Tony Waldrop (North Carolina)||1st|
|2009||3:55.02||German Fernandez (Ok State)||DNR|
|2012||3:54.54||Miles Batty (BYU)||3rd|
|2013||3:52.98||Chris O'Hare (Tulsa)||7th|
|2014||3:52.88||Lawi Lalang' (Arizona)||2nd|
|2017||3:52.01||Edward Cheserek (Oregon)||2nd|
Watch Cheserek set the mile record here and see Kerr win the NCAA title below.