TSSAA 2017 State Decathlon Recap

TSSAA State Decathlon 

There aren't very many decathlons contested during the regular season for Tennessee Track & Field and so this time of year we pretty much get our first glimpse into the world's best athletes!  Ok, maybe the world is a bit of a stretch, but the decathlon is considered the one event that distinguishes who actually is the best out of all the states Track & Field athletes.  Twelve athletes for each of three divisions that compete in ten events spread across two exhausting days to start off the TSSAA State Track & Field championships.  Here in Murfreesboro the spring fling boasts several different other sports competing this week, which is fine and dandy if you like playing catch or kickball or something like that.  Yea, I know, I'll be nice... but hey it's Track & Field, and the Decathlon no less and we're on a track and field web site, so I'm allowed some editorial comments! 

So let's jump into the competition here.  The D2 boys took to the track first with McCallie's Hakim McMorris running the 100M dash in the top decathlon time of 11.11.  He was followed by the freshman from Ensworth, Jude Maloy, in 11.29 and Daniel Tell of Briarcrest.  That start was kind of a glimpse into the end of the day, but I'm getting ahead of myself some here. 

The way the Decathlon works here is that one division, in this case the D2 class, comes out first to start their first day.  About two hours later, the next class, AAA steps on the track and then about after a couple more hours, the A-AA class takes the track.  The spread for start times allows the pentathlon to compete in there as well on the first day.  The second day the start times are closer together.  But the point is, each class is competing individually and the schedule is such that neither of the divisions wait on each other.  Bottom line, its pure decathlon competition!  And fun to watch!

With ten events going on and the winner determined by the total points earned during the competition, each and every second counts towards the outcome.  So getting a win or making a really strong showing in an event is important to gathering up as many points as possible.  With Hakim's 100M time of 11.11, that earned him 836 points.  And Jude's 11.29 got him 797 points.  So 0.18 seconds was worth 66 points to start off the day.  Now, Daniel Tell, of Briarcrest came in third for the race in 11.41, so that's 0.12 seconds and was worth 28 points.  Not exactly a linear relationship there, so the better the performance, the more technical the event, the more points you get.  Yea, nothing like putting in a lot of math and a lot of variables to make the event even more exciting. 

Hakim Morris in the end was able to gather up 9 wins out of the ten events and get 6892 points.  The only event he did not win was the pole vault with Daniel Tell (BCS) won in a solid 14-0 vault.  That vault was the only win Daniel got during the event, but like I said before, this competition isn't just about wins, it's about the performance across all two days and ten events.

Daniel was able to get a second place finish in the 400M dash when he ran 51.03 to get 768 points.  Anytime you can tally up over 600 points in an event, it usually means it's a good one for you.  Daniel's 400 was only 31 points behind what Hakim tallied in the 400.  Right behind these guys was Ty Kimberlin of Harding.  This junior athlete ran a 51.20 for 760 points that helped him finish up the first day strong. 

The second day in the decathlon can be a very challenging day.  They have to be able to recover from the first day... which means some good fuel after that first day, good sleep and staying hydrated.  The other part is not being nervous so you come into that second day feeling good about your first day.  The second day starts with the 110M hurdles and depending on the division, will have the high jump, shot put, long jump and 1500M run. 

Coming out strong again was Hakim with an 839 point total gained by running 15.09 in the 110 hurdles.  That was followed by several very good performances in this event.  Harding's James Townsdin was the next fastest at 15.62 and freshman Landon Wright of Briarcrest with 15.96 to cap off the first three that all went under 16 seconds in this hurdle race.  Something interesting in this division's competition where you normally see the seasoned veterans entered, is that we had two freshman, one sophomore and four juniors competing for the D2 event.   

Hakim had a pretty dominate toss in the shot with a 43-1.5 but then had some work cut out for him in the long jump.  There were five guys over 20' in the long with Jude Maloy (Ensworth) jumping 20-7.75, Thomas Ozburn (BA) at 21-5.25, Daniel Tell of Briarcrest at 21-6.0, Harding's Ty Kimberlin at 22-0.75 and then Hakim with a 22-5.75.  That was pretty impressive to watch for sure.Of course, as is the case in most Decathlons (ok, all of them), the athletes most favorite race of the two days and that's the 1500.  These guys actually ran pretty well with Hakim taking the win to get his final point total up to 6892  and Daniel Tell gathered up a third place finish in the 1500 with 617 points (6204 total) that was enough to give the Briarcrest athlete the runner up spot for the D2 Decathlon this year. 

The AAA Decathlon was the next group up to compete in the event.  Usually in the decathlon, you see the guys that are seasoned pole vaulters and hurdlers making the run at the event.  In the AAA we got a bit of a peep at what the sprints on Friday might just look like with the top AAA 100M runner entered in this multi-event, and that is Rashad Haynes of Memphis Central.  With a 10.47 PR set coming into this state championships, the last thing you might think is that he's a Decathlete.  But hey, being a top athlete in the sport of track and field, well, the decathlon just seems to linger back in the mind as something all track athletes want to try.  And so we see a different kind of decathlete at this event! 

Well, with that lead in I'm sure you've already guessed who might be the favorite in the first event of the day, the 100M dash.  Yep, Rashad.  Running a 10.60 in this event got him started off in the lead with 952 points for the one event!  As you creep up towards 1000 points for an event, that kind of puts you in rarified air for sure!  Rashad was also the winner in the 110 hurdles getting a 14.80 worth 874 points, the long jump with a huge 23-0.5 jump (818 points), and also a winner in the Shot put with 717 points (45-4.25 toss).  That's a lot of points for those events, but what's even more impressive is that at the end of the day he also won the 1500... uh... well, no folks, that's just a joke... that 1500 was won by Bryce Nunnely of Walker Valle in the fast time of the day in 4:37.44.  Typically you don't see a strong sprinter like Rashad making waves in the 1500... heck, most decathletes barely move the air in the 1500!  That race at the end of two days is a really pure form of, well, torture! 

Rashad was the AAA Decathlete winner with his 6477 point total but also making a really close race for runner up was Brentwood freshman athlete Jett Kinder.  Jett was able to secure wins in the pole vault by vaulting a best for the day of 14-6, a 44-9 for the triple, and a massive 6-6 mark in the high jump.  And then he went on to win the event ending 1500M race... uh... ok, no, I already told you Bryce won that, so joking again.  But it appears this freshman, after getting 6357 points is going to be a pretty tough competitor in the years to come.  That point total was a little less than 50 points ahead of Jett's teammate, Kyle Costner, a junior from Brentwood that got third in 6309.  And speaking of points, getting 2nd and 3rd just go the Brentwood team a start of 14 points for the state meet!  Not a bad way to start.

And the last group to compete was the A-AA boys.  Starting with the first event of the day, Job Blacksmith of East Nashville took it fast to get 876 points for his 10.93.  He was only the second athlete of the meet to get under the 11 mark, so he started off strong.  But right behind him in the 100 was Ryan Charles of CPA with an 11.48 that was a little behind on the points compared to Job's but still pretty high up there and something to watch for in this event. 

The A-AA decathlon was a lot different than the other two divisions as we didn't really see one athlete put on a fairly dominate performance all around.  This division was scattered around a bit with three athletes getting multiple wins in the event.  Hunter Marsh of Alcoa was the winner in the Pole Vault with a 12-0 mark that gave him 525 points, and also a win in the 400 where he ran for 704 points with his 52.57 time.  Jaque Ross took care of business in the horizontal jumps by winning the triple in 44-8 (654 points) and the long with a jump of 20-11.25 (670 points).  Jague also took, and this time I'm not joking folks, the 1500M run with a close race to finish in 4:50.23 that got him 617 points to end the day. 

The other multi-event winner was Ryan Charles of CPA who tied for points in the pole vault with a 12-0 vault and won the shot put by a little over an inch with a 36-6.75 toss (554 points).  Before going on to his other win of the two days, Ryan also got a runner up spot in the 100M dash and in the 110 hurdles (16.23, 707 points). 

The decathlon is really something that a track athlete can be super proud of and also an event that is difficult for spectators to comprehend.  In the A-AA contest, the second to last event of the day was the high jump.  Sometimes the high jump takes a while to complete, especially when it comes to the decathlon since it may not be the specialty of these athletes.  This year, the A-AA high jump was near the end of the longest two days that athletes have.  Very few spectators left in the stands, probably just relatives or friends of the A-AA competitors out on the track.  The high jump started out in the 4' range and slowly and timely moved up.  We had three guys clear a very god 5-8 height (Job Blacksmith, Jaque Ross, and Daniel Davila) and then Joachim Kennedy of Hume-Fogg made it up to clear the 5-10 mark to get him 610 points in that event. 

Then, left all by himself, Ryan clears the 6-0 and the bar goes up to 6-2.  He clears it and surprisingly enough with the small crowd on hand, they were loud.  The bar moves up a couple more inches but after a long and tough two days, Ryan finished with the -2 mark and 696 points.  After twenty minutes rest, he lines up to the 1500 run and after a bit over five minutes on the track finishes the day with a point's total of 5739 and the overall win in the A-AA decathlon! 

Well folks, the decathlon is a super competitive event and these guys come out to push themselves as had as their bodies can take the over two highly competitive days with some of their most fierce competition in track and field.  And yet, when the days all over, the first thing they all do - and believe me they all do this -no matter the place, no matter the time, no matter if they got beat or did the beating, they first catch their breath and then they congratulate each other with high fives, laughs, hugs, and then... if the opportunity is there to take a quick jump into the steeplechase water pit, they hey... after ten events on a couple of warm days, why not take the plunge!!  What a great group of athletes TSSAA was able to put together this week- congratulations to you all!  It was a pleasure to watch!!

See you on the track (and yes, I might just stay away from the water!!),

Coach Ted