NCAA Championships 2023, Day 2: The ten-tier throwdown ends with a German national record
By Sam Fariss for RunBlogRun
AUSTIN, TX – The first two days of the NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field championships were filled with seemingly endless accomplishments and accolades. However, the decathlon performances from Kyle Garland, a University of Georgia junior, and Leo Neugebauer, a University of Texas senior, were – arguably – unbelievable.
With a final score of 8836 points, Neugebauer not only broke the collegiate record, the meet record, and the facility record and set the world lead, but the 22-year-old athlete was also able to break the German national record of 8832 points, previously held by Jürgen Hingsen. To cap off his list of achievements this week, the Longhorn collected five personal bests and set or met four season bests in the individual events.
To kick off the multi-event competition, the men competed in the 100-meter dash, where Neugebauer racked up his first PB of the day. He finished first in 10.61 seconds and was just 0.02 seconds ahead of Garland. The race was so tight that less than one second separated Neugebauer from Arkansas’ Marcus Weaver, who had the slowest time for the event.
A short 50 minutes later, the athletes were back to work, now in the long jump. While they didn’t finish 1st and 2nd this time around, Garland and Neugebauer were able to finish 2nd and 3rd, only trailing Nebraska’s Till Steinforth, who had a personal best of 7.87m.
The third event of day one was the shot put. Garland fell short of his career-best in the event but still threw an astounding 16.39 meters to earn 1st place once again. Neugebauer also fell best of setting a personal record but came in 2nd with his toss of 16.27m
Neugebauer and Garland tied for 1st place in the penultimate event of the evening – the high jump. The duo reached 2.04 meters which tied Neugebauer’s season best. The rest of the field earned (or tied) a total of six personal bests, and Jack Turner, UTSA junior, also tied his season’s best with a jump of 1.92m.
The fifth and final competition on Wednesday was the 400-meter race. While this has never been Garland’s strong suit, he was able to still earn a personal best with a time of 47.78 seconds. Meanwhile, Neugebauer was able to clock the third fastest time of the evening at 47.08 seconds, also setting a personal best and pushing him into 1st place overall. He was a mere 21 points ahead of Garland, a seemingly nonexistent difference in score.
“That I get all these results here in Texas and Austin with such an amazing stadium, just the feeling, the energy here is so high,” Neugebauer shared about competing at his home stadium, Mike A. Myers.
Going into day two of the meet, Neugebaeur was at a mark of 4591 points, and Garland followed in 2nd with 4570. The pair’s success hardly faltered as the decathlon progressed. In the opening event on Thursday, the 110-meter hurdles, Neugebauer finished 1st in just 13.54 seconds, a new personal best, and Garland crossed the finish line close behind in 14.10 seconds, his season best.
Neugebauer collected his sixth cumulative best (personal and season) of the meet in the just the seventh event, discus. He threw for 55.06 meters, earning first place, and was a stunning 6.08 meters beyond Michigan State senior Ryan Talbot’s best throw of 47.94 meters. Garland fell to fifth place in the event; his best toss of the afternoon was 45.74 meters.
With just three events remaining, Neugebauer and Garland were far from slowing down. The two earned 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, both earning personal bests in the pole vault competition. Neugebauer seemed to fly over the pole at 5.21 meters, tying the height of Rice sophomore Grant Levesque’s first-place finish but had to take two attempts to do it. Garland earned his PB with a vault of 5.01 meters.
Austin West, Iowa junior, who finished first in the 400-meter dash on Wednesday, earned another 2nd-place finish in the javelin throw with his personal best toss of 62.40 meters. West was bested only by Heath Baldwin, a Michigan State senior, who threw for 67.43 meters. While Garland fell short of the top three spots, landing at 6th, Leo Neugebauer earned yet another personal best with a 57.45-meter throw, placing him in third for the event.
“This feels almost like a practice to me just because it’s in my stadium and it’s so familiar. I think that’s why I have a little advantage,” Leo Neugebauer said.
Entering the final event, the 1500 meters, Garland was trailing Neugebauer by just 235 points. Not to mention that Neugebauer – originally from Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany – was only 627 points shy of Hingsen’s national record of 8832 points.
Nearly 32 hours after the first of ten events started, the 1500 meters came to its conclusion. While Neugebauer came in 17th overall in the race, his 4:48.00 finish was quick enough to collect the necessary 631 points to push past the old German record. Gardner, finishing 11th in the 1500 meters, earned a season’s best 8630 points to come in 2nd place.