Coming off its performance in the split meets last weekend, the Long Beach State track and field team will be changing pace, as the decathletes and heptathletes will take center stage at the UC Riverside Decathlon and Heptathlon Thursday and Friday. This event is the only decathlon and heptathlon on the schedule until the Big West Championships in May.
The decathlon consists of ten total events, four on the track and six on the field while the heptathlon has three track events and four on the field.
The 49ers have had tremendous success in previous years at this event, finishing first or second in the decathlon the past three seasons.
Senior decathlete and jumper Herman Day won the event in 2016, breaking the meet record at the time with a score of 7279. The year after junior decathlete Cole Hicks took first place, and last season, senior decathlete and jumper John Broadhead took second.
For Nardoni and Barnes, this will be their first time competing in a heptathlon.
Head coach Andy Sythe said the event isn’t so much about breaking records or putting together tremendous showings, as it is about working toward becoming better decathletes and heptathletes.
“It’s not about only executing technique, it’s not about only performing well,” Sythe said. “It’s about managing yourself. You’re running a marathon so you can’t sprint at the beginning and finish strong, you have to manage your timing.”
The athletes must pace themselves as they must compete in the 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m dash, 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and the 1500m event.
Heptathletes will compete in three track events and four field events, the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m dash, long jump, javelin throw and 800m event.
“They can never spend enough time to get great at any one thing because they still have to spend time developing those other areas,” Sythe said. “They are the busiest people on the track out of all event groups, they spend more time there than anybody.”
Because the decathletes and heptathletes will be the only part of the team traveling to Riverside, they will be relying on each other and their experiences to help guide them to a successful event.
“They sweat and toil together everyday in a way that bonds them and makes them unique and different,” Sythe said, “They know it takes a lot mentally to get through it so they support themselves.”
Despite the emphasis on using this event as an opportunity to improve and measure the readiness of the athletes, the team expects the previous success at this meet to help their performance.