DES MOINES, Iowa - Michigan State junior Kurt Schneider is the leader in the decathlon after the first day of competition at the 2012 Drake Relays on Wednesday, April 25.
Schneider fell short of the 4,000-point mark sitting with 3,996 points. Schneider won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet 8.25 inches and the high jump in 7 feet .25 inches.
"The decathlon is a roller coaster, has its ups and downs," said Schneider. "I'm happy with my 100, PR'd by about a quarter of a second. I'm definitely happy with my high jump. It's my first time going 7-plus in a decathlon. It definitely gets you a few points. The 400, I just a little tired. I hit the wind around the second turn and just ran into a wall. You win some, you lose some."
2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Bryan Clay and Drake Stadium record holder Jake Arnold, both of Asics, competed in the first four events of the day, but elected not to run in the final event, the 400-meter dash. Heading into the final event, Clay led the field with 3,425 points.
"We really are coming out just to kind of get our legs underneath us and get ready for the U.S. Championships," said Clay. "Right now, with the U.S. Championship being as close as it is, we've got our training set up and we didn't want to come out of this weekend and sacrifice a bunch of training weeks to get a full decathlon score in."
Many athletes were ecstatic to have the opportunity to compete with a former Olympic gold medalist.
"Ninety-nine percent of people would never get this opportunity," said Schneider. "It's an honor to be able to compete against him. He just pushes you to be better just being around him."
Wichita State senior Aaron Young is in second tallying 3813 points, and his teammate Austin Bahner, a sophomore, claimed third place with 3,740. Kurtis Brondyke and Michael Schober, were fourth (3731) and fifth (3720), respectively. Central senior Ethan Miller is in sixth (3696), while Northern Iowa junior Daniel Gooris is seventh (3696).
The competition began around 12 p.m. (CT) with cloudy skies and a temperature of 68 degrees. Winds were calm throughout most of the challenge. Conditions did improve as the sun came out over Drake Stadium and the temperature reached the high 80's before the event wrapped up at 5 p.m.
The decathlon resumes at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Drake Stadium.