This weekend the Eastern Track and Field teams will make their way down to Flagstaff, Ariz., where Northern Arizona University is hosting the Big Sky Conference Championships.
For most of the athletes, the meet begins on Friday with preliminary in some of the running events and half of the field events already completed. The championships will really begin on Wednesday as the men and women will compete in the decathlon and heptathlon. Eastern doesn’t have any women who will compete in the heptathlon, but they do have two men ready to take on the decathlon.
The multis, as the track team calls them, are arguably the most overlooked athletes on the track team. Like linemen in football, the sixth man in basketball and that one that can play every position in baseball, the multis just don’t quite get the attention that others do.
That’s more than likely due to the fact that they usually compete days before everyone else.
The decathlon is a 10 event competition that covers two days with five events each day.
On Wednesday decathletes Mat Ludwigson and David Sargent will begin day one. The day starts off with the 100-meter dash, followed by the long jump, then to the shot put, the high jump and finishes with the 400-meter dash.
The 110-meter high hurdles start day two, followed by the discus, the pole vault, the javelin and then the whole competition comes to a close with the 1500-meter run. There is a universal scoring table for each event as the athletes are attempting to come up with the highest score they possibly can.
“I’m always being asked, ‘why would you do such a thing to your body?’ and honestly I still don’t even know,” said Ludwigson, about the decathlon.
“It’s the most draining thing your body goes through. You finish day one and you’re already in pain, and then to think you’re only half way done it’s insane. When it’s all said and done, it feels like your body had gone through hell and back and then back through again. At the same time it’s a great sense of pride at the end. The winner of the decathlon at the Olympics always gets the title of ‘The World’s Greatest Athlete,’ so it’s amazing to think that we’re like the ‘greatest athletes’ within a conference full of great athletes,” said Ludwigson.
Ludwigson and Sargent are both coming off of great decathlons when they were down in Oregon three weeks ago. There Sargent missed his personal best score by 20 points while Ludwigson shattered his previous best score by more than 200 points.
They both are in great positions to finish as All Conference (top three finish) decathletes. Coming into the Big Sky Conference Championships Sargent (6454 points) is ranked third in the conference while Ludwigson (6347) is ranked fifth. And as if their bodies won’t go through enough on Wednesday and Thursday, they’ll each come back and compete in individual events on Friday and Saturday.
Ludswigson will compete in both high jump and pole vault while Sargent will compete in the long jump.