After missing a large portion of the 2010 indoor and outdoor track seasons because of a leg injury, USF freshman Neamen Wise hoped to make up for lost time when he competed in the Decathlon event at the USA Junior Championships this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
Wise did not disappoint, as his 1,500-meter time of 4:48.67 in the final event clinched the Decathlon Championship.
“I’m glad I was finally able to get something done this year,” Wise said to Gousfbulls.com. “I couldn’t train at all for a while because of my injury, so it feels really good to overcome that and come out here and get the title.”
With a total of 7,300 points over the two-day competition, Wise marginally edged out Tennessee’s Kevin Lazas, who finished with 7,291.
With his first-place finish, Wise will now compete in the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships from July 19-25 in Moncton, Canada.
“I will be training very hard in the month leading up to the (World) Championships,” Wise said. “Competing against those athletes, I will have to run a little better, throw a little farther and jump a little higher.”
Wise, who won the 2009 Florida State Championship in hurdles as a high school senior, began the second day of competition in the 110-meter hurdles, where he finished first with a time of 14.5 seconds.
He then finished second in the discus before running just fast enough in the 1,500-meter run to take the title.
With a slim 33-point lead heading into the final event of the competition, Wise finished eighth to narrowly defeat Lazas.
“I knew I had to keep him within four or five seconds,” Wise said. “The same thing happened at the Nike Indoor Nationals last year, so I was prepared and knew what I had to do.”
With Wise’s Decathlon Championship, the Bulls now have two outdoor track and field champions in the past two years.
Sophomore Casey Wagner won last year’s junior national championship in the javelin.
Wise said that he only felt 75 percent healthy just two weeks ago, but it helped him focus on his technique. Going into the championships, Wise held high expectations for himself.
“This was the first time I competed in a decathlon since I tore my hamstring last year,” Wise said. “So I was expecting a personal best.”
Hurdler places eighth at outdoor championships
Sophomore David Aristil placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles after finishing in 50.57 seconds on Saturday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Aristil, USF’s record-holder in the 400, qualified for the final by placing eighth in Friday’s semifinals.