Cloudy skies and spotted showers didn’t dampen the spirits of Texas’ three decathletes competing in Wednesday’s opening events of the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
Junior Isaac Murphy, freshman Petter Olson and senior Kenny Greaves set the bar high for the Longhorns with three full days of competition remaining. The trio is currently ranked among the top 14 of 21 spots filling the decathlon leaderboard.
In this grueling 10-event competition, continuous mental focus and precise execution is crucial. And Texas’ Murphy seems to be embracing that challenge. He is currently in second place with 4,192 points, trailing only Boise State’s Kurt Felix.
“It feels pretty good,” said Felix. “It is my first time doing the event in a while, yet I came out with a pretty good start. I have to stay consistent. Hopefully there will be a new personal best.”
For Murphy, those were fighting words. Murphy was able to knock out four personal bests for the second straight year, this time in the 400-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump.
And ironically, fate had it that he would match his personal best in the 100-meter dash with a first place time of 10.47. The closest in stride was a 10.81 by Texas’own Jake Wohlford, who is running unattached and representing himself. Olson clocked in a 10.90 for fifth place, followed by Felix in 10th and Greaves farther down the pack in 19th place.
The battle between Felix and Murphy became heated as the two long jumpers finished with leaps of 7.74 and 7.53 meters — allowing Felix to take the top spot. But for Olson and Greaves, a couple of unintended fouls pushed away their chances of performing as well as they had hoped. Olson finished ninth with a jump of 7.12 meters and Greaves in 22nd place at 6.50.
Olson’s chance at redemption came next in the men’s shot put. Olson, Felix and Murphy claimed 2-3-4 in the event, with Olson on top of Felix and the Texas bunch for the first time. But it was Houston’s Bray Wesley who heaved the farthest throw of 13.99 meters.
UT-Arlington’s Romain Martin cleared the winning height of 2.05 meters in the men’s high jump. Felix was able to finish out strong with the next best jump of 2.02 meters. The fifth place spot was shared between Olson, Greaves and Wohlford and five other competitors, all with heights of 1.90 meters. Murphy and three other men followed close behind with jumps of 1.87 meters, finishing in 13th place.
In the final event of the day, Murphy went on to take second in the 400-meter dash. Curtis Beach from Duke was able to maintain the few steps needed to push ahead of Murphy for the win. Murphy finished just two-tenths of a second behind Beach with a 48.01. The remaining Longhorns, Olson and Greaves were able to place among the top 10 in the event, finishing third and eighth, respectively.
The five remaining events in the decathlon will kick off today beginning with the men’s 110-meter hurdles at 11 a.m. The evening session will begin with the university/college 1500-meter run, undoubtedly the decathletes’ most anticipated event and final opportunity to make their time at Texas Relays unforgettable.
Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Day one in the books at Relays