Terre Haute, IN – The Grace Christian University track & field teams split their squad this weekend between two meets with Kent Herring competing in the decathlon competition at Indiana State University while the rest of the team competed at Siena Heights University this weekend. Herring, who hopes to compete in the decathlon at the NCCAA Outdoor National Championships in May used the NCAA D1/D2 competition to help secure his spot at Nationals through a provisional "right of membership" entry.
Matched up against some of the best decathletes in the country, Herring represented the Tigers well, earning 3,416 pts. and placing 26th out of the 31 entries in the event. For those new to track & field, the decathlon consists of 10 events over two days. On Thursday, Herring competed in the 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, and the 400m. Friday’s events were the 110m high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and the 1500m. Certain events, such as the high jump, pole vault, and hurdles are weaker events for Herring so the plan was to score as many points as possible in the events where he is more confident – 100m, long jump, shot put, javelin, and especially the 1500m.
Grace head coach Gerry Verwey was extremely proud of Herring for having the courage to match up against the toughest competition he has ever faced as the sole representative of the Tigers at a huge meet. "I gave Kent three goals on a card the night before the first day of competition," commented Verwey. "Those goals were simply to finish every event, to be confident in himself and happy with who he is, and to treat this experience as an opportunity to watch, learn, and grow." Verwey added, "He was having fun and doing so well, even with limited practice in certain events. It really hit me when I saw him lining up for the first event against the D1 athletes. He has come so far since his freshman year!"
With the level of competition being so high, Herring stated that he added one other goal, "I just didn’t want to finish last in my events," joked Herring after the meet.
100m dash – 12.43 seconds was good enough for Herring to beat other competitors in the event, finishing 26th overall and 569 pts.
Long Jump – His jump of 5.43m was not only his best jump this year but also good enough for 22nd place and 467 pts.
High Jump – Although a weaker event for Herring, he managed to clear starting height which gave him 237 pts., rather than zero pts., which ultimately helped his final score significantly.
400m dash – A stronger event for Herring, he placed 24th overall and scored 528 pts.
1500m – Perhaps his most impressive performance overall, Herring finished 7th overall in the 1500m, the last event over the two day competition, and scored 589 pts.
Shot Put – A toss of 8.14m, although not his best to date, still secured 375 pts. towards his total score.
Herring’s next opportunity to compete in the decathlon will be at the NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships in May at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. He will use the remainder of the regular season track meets to focus on individual events in preparation for Nationals.