Run, jump, throw, repeat: Decathlon, pentathlon puts unique training requirements on competitors
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It isn’t just being good at several things, it’s being versatile and dedicated enough to push yourself to be good in all of them for 48 hours.
The pentathlon and decathlon have their own qualifying sectionals and take up the first two days of the state championships by themselves. But that’s almost the only time the event takes place during the track and field season.
“It’s hard to get pentathletes and decathletes prepared and ready for sectional qualifying because they spend time practicing relays and other events while still working five or 10 other events,” Maryville track coach Nick White said of the scheduling, conditioning and practicing that goes into getting an athlete ready for the multi-contest events. “It’s kind of logistical nightmare to get them the time to train do it all.”
Two local athletes will be looked on to make returns to the state championships in the multi-tasked competitions after successful bids last year.
Heritage’s Lindsey Burnette is one of the state’s best at the long jump but in the five-event competition of the pentathlon last season, the then-junior lost ground in the running events even though she won the long jump portion.
Maryville junior Cody Carroll was 15 points from medalling last season at the decathlon in the state championships, but that was after a midseason move to get him ready for the decathlon. Knowing a full year ahead that he wanted to return, Carroll has been putting in the offseason workouts to improve his times, distances and heights in the various events that he’ll only do one after the other twice this season in competition if he succeeds in a return to the ’Boro.
“Decathletes are supposedly the best athletes because they have to do so many things. I think it was surprise for him to be near the top after the first day at state last year,” White said. “He’s worked hard in a lot of those events over the winter, pole vaulting, throwing discus. This year we’re going to use some more meets to let him compete and work on those events individually trying to get him prepared.”
Just how well both athletes are progressing won’t really be clear until the section competition when it’s already now or never.