Though the "multis" have been a part of the Indoor Nationals experience for a while, 2011 marks the first time that the girls' heptathlon and boys' decathlon have been included in the Outdoor Nationals schedule. Traditionally, these have determined the best overall athlete in the meet, harkening back to the original meaning of athletics in the form of the ancient Greek olympics, where the same competitors often participated in all events. Here's how the multi-event competitions at New Balance Nationals unfolded:
Heptathlon, Day One
100 Hurdles: Kendell Williams (Kell GA) took immediate command of the competition with a very quick 13.96, good for 984 points.
Sarah Graham (Wake Forest-Rolesville NC) ran 14.76 to take second in the event, with Tiffany Ellick third in 15.21.
High Jump: After a LONG afternoon out in the sun for the high jump competition, Williams showed she is serious about breaking records here. She soared to a PR of 6' 0.5" to rack up 991 points, putting her on pace for upper 6000's at this point!
Graham again finished second in the event, with a 5' 6.5" height worth 842 points, establishing her in a solid second overall. Hannah Stone (Catoctin MD) finished third with 5' 5.25", giving her a big boost with 806 points.
Shot Put: The leaders broke down a bit here, and Lindsey Bethel (Bishop McNamara DC) dominated with a throw of 34' 8.25" to garner 567 points.
Natalie McAlister was second in the event, throwing 31' 8" for 507 points, while Williams finished 9th, Ellick 13th, and Graham 15th. Unfortunately, McAlister would aggravate her leg injury in the 200 later in the day.
200: Williams regained her momentum by winning the event in 25.00, good for 887 points. Ellick battled her to the wire and finished second with a time of 25.28, with Graham (in another heat) clocking 26.06 for third in the event.
At the end of the day, Williams was in the overall lead, with Graham second and Ellick third.
Decathlon, Day One
100: Devon Williams (Kell GA), who is the brother of Kendell, started off in the lead with am 11.64 time, good for 723 points.
He was followed closely by Lane Austell (Briarcrest TN) with 11.69, earning him 713 points.
Long Jump: Alston Cobb (Western Branch VA) surged into contention with a 22' 1" jump to win this event and claim 750 points.
Thomas Bove finished second at 20' 10.5" (666 points), with Williams third.
Shot Put: Cobb continued to excel in the field events, winning again with a heave of 45' 3" and adding 715 points to his total.
Austell threw 41' 1.5" for second place (639 points), while Williams finished 8th.
High Jump: Quentin Cieslinski (Madison OH) was the winner in this event, with his clearance of 6' 3.5" gaining him 731 points.
Kyle Smith (Cheltenham MD) was second at 6' 1.25", with Williams 4th, Cobb 10th, and Austell 11th.
400: In the last event of day one, Chris Gough (St. Augustine NJ) made it four winners in five events with his time of 51.05, garnering 767 points. Smith was second in 51.40 (751 points), with Williams 3rd, Austell 4th, and Cobb struggling to a 14th-place finish.
At the midway point, the first-ever title of Outdoor National Decathlon Champion was up for grabs. Austell led after five events with 3238 points, and Williams was tied for second with Cobb, both having 3229. Bove was still very much in the mix at 3210 points, with Cieslinski and Gough less than 200 points back.
Heptathlon, Day Two:
Long Jump: Coming soon
Javelin: Shaina Burns (Prior Lake MN), who is only a freshman, took command early and closed out the competition with her best throw, 98' 9", coming on her last attempt. She gained 479 points in this event.
Chelsea Wright (Western Branch VA) finished in a close second with a toss of 96' 4", good for 465 points.
800: The conclusion to any multi-event competition is a distance race, run on very tired legs to boot. Amira Privott-Yeiser (New Rochelle NY) was the fastest, running 2:25.14 for 755 points. Multis veteran Rachel Chernaskey (Pope John Paul II PA) was right on her heels in 2:25.39, good for 752 points.
Final Results: When all the dust had settled and everyone had caught their breath, it was still Kendell Williams (GA) on top. Her mark of 5169 was US #2 this season, and also a new national sophomore-class record! Williams is in elite company among the select few who have gone over 5000 points. Sarah Graham (NC) finished second in her multi-event debut, totaling a fine 4419 to tie for US #14. Amira Privott-Yeiser (NY) used her top finish in the 800 to hold off hard-charging Rachel Chernaskey (PA) for the third position.
Decathlon, Day Two:
110 Hurdles: Kyle Smith (MD) started day two with a strong win in the 110 hurdles, running 14.65 to rack up 892 points. Quentin Cieslinski (OH) finished third to stay in the overall title hunt.
He defeated Devon Williams (GA), who competed in the hurdles separately this weekend, and who posted a time of 14.84 here to grab 869 points.
Discus: Lane Austell (TN) reasserted himself in a big way during this event, scoring almost 100 points more than the nearest competitor with his throw of 118' 3" (585 points).
Chris Gough (NJ) finished second in the event with a mark of 104' 1", giving him 498 points. Williams finished third, with Cieslinski sixth.
Pole Vault: Christian Lavorgna (Pope John XXIII NJ) showed everyone what his strongest event of the decathlon is, soaring over 13' 7" to bring home 656 points and put himself in range of a podium finish and All-American status. Cieslinski, Austell, and Ed Simon (St. Albans VT) all cleared 13' 3". Since the decathlon only depends on points, not the order of finish in an event, it was not necessary to separate them by tiebreaking methods, and they all received 628 points.
(Unfortunately, I had to leave before the completion of the event. This picture is of Cieslinski.)
Javelin: This was arguably the closest event of the competition, with no athlete able to clearly dominate. MacKenzie Copley (Oliver Ames MA) took the top mark with his final throw of 144' 2", but his 500 points were not significantly ahead of the other top competitors.
Gough finished second with a toss of 143' 9", which earned him 498 points. Lavorgna, Austell, Smith, and Williams followed in that order, but Cieslinski struggled to 11th.
1500: Gough continued to finish strong on day two, running through the pain and fatigue to put up a 4:28.11, worth 757 points.
Copley also had a strong event left in his legs, as he ran 4:38.73 to garner 688 points. The title contenders, however, struggled mightily here, with Austell 7th, Williams 9th, and Cieslinski 10th.
Final Results: Lane Austell (TN) ended up on the highest step of the podium after a hard-fought competition; his total was 6222, good for a US #13 ranking this year. Austell was the most consistent competitor, as he recorded 8 top-5 event finishes with no truly damaging events. He was followed by Devon Williams (GA) with 5954 points, making it a double-All American sort of day for the Williams family. Quentin Cieslinski emerged from a very close group to claim third place with 5853.