BYU's Chase Dalton took first in the decathlon at the prestigious Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, beating three former multi-event national champions and posting a qualifying mark for nationals.
"I knew the potential was there," Dalton said. "After three seasons of hard work, winning was great, but realizing my potential means so much to me right now. There's room to improve still, but I have reached a level I know I need to be. I've proven that I belong with the top-tier decathletes."
Dalton set personal bests in the 110 meter hurdles and 100 meters, and he tied his personal best in the long jump. He also set new outdoor personal bests in the long jump and shot put.
Sitting in seventh place after the first day of competition, Dalton worked his way up the leaderboard to get himself into position to win. His time of 15.10 in the 110 meter hurdles was good enough to take fourth place and move him into fifth overall. He then took third in the discus to jump to third place overall. Dalton won the javelin with his longest throw since his freshman year with a mark of 210 feet 6 inches to move into second place, just three points behind leader Kevin Lazas of Arkansas, which was the 2013 indoor heptathlon national champion.
This set up a showdown in the 1500 meters, the final event of the decathlon. Dalton passed Lazas with 300 meters left and ended up beating him by almost eight seconds, finishing fourth in the race and taking first overall with 7642 points.
"He really dug in deep," assistant coach Stephanie Perkins said. "Coming in and winning and qualifying for nationals was pretty huge."
Dalton's point total gives him the highest score posted in the decathlon in the country this outdoor season.
Justin Green is the SID over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications as well as BYU Rugby. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2014. Email: email@example.com