NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships — Qualifying
Edward Kemboi sprints for a qualifying spot in the final lap of the 800-meter run. Kemboi competed June 8 in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

ISU freshman Edward Kemboi qualified Wednesday for the final event of the men's 800-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The 17-year-old Kemboi ran a personal best time of 1:46.06 in the semifinals at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Kemboi's time of 1:46.06 also set an ISU school record in the event, breaking the 30-year-old record of 1:46.3 set by David Korir in 1980.

"This is unbelievable for me," Kemboi said after qualifying for the final event.

Kemboi stayed near the back of the pack for much of the race, waiting to make his final kick in the last 200 meters, when he found an open path on the inside of the track.

"It reminded me of what happened in Oregon at the quaterfinals," Kemboi said. "The fastest guys went on the outside and left the inside for me."

Kemboi finished third in his heat, behind Charles Jock of UC Irvine [1:45.77] and Willie Brown of Akron [1:45.91].

With the top two runners from each heat qualifying for the final, along with the two next best times in all three heats combined, Kemboi was not initially guaranteed a spot in Friday's final.

After an agonizing wait for the third and final heat to end, Kemboi's time proved to be low enough, and good for the third-fastest time of any of the qualifying heats.

The scary thing for Kemboi's future opponents is that the youngster from Eldoret, Kenya is still learning to be an 800-meter runner.

"I usually ran the 400, only," Kemboi said of running in Kenya. "When I came to Iowa State, I had to adjust my training and work on my endurance

Kemboi will run in the 800-meter finals on Friday at Drake Stadium at 7:20 p.m.

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