Saturday, October 21

UCLA decathletes work to impress at first meet to qualify for NCAA Championships

Junior David Thomas and three other UCLA decathletes will participate in the California Invitational today in Azusa, Calif.

Junior David Thomas and three other UCLA decathletes will participate in the California Invitational today in Azusa, Calif.

Charlie Wang


California Invitational
Today, all day
Azusa, Calif.
No TV info

By the numbers:

Decathletes have only two meets to qualify for nationals.

The top-24 decathletes will qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Four UCLA decathletes will compete today.

UCLA decathletes don’t often have the opportunity to show the NCAA what they are made of. With only two meets in their schedule, every step, every event and every meet counts.

UCLA will be sending four decathletes to Azusa, Calif. to compete in the two-day California Invitational for the first time this season.

Junior Dominic Giovannoni is one of the four UCLA decathletes slated to compete.

As one of UCLA’s top hurdlers and after a great performance last week, he is in good position to post high scores for this meet.

Sophomore Marcus Nilsson, who was the International Association of Athletics Federation World Junior Championships bronze medalist in the decathlon, is expected to qualify for the NCAA right off the bat.

“He’s one of our top guys and he’s been training really well,” decathlete coach Rob Jarvis said.

The Swedish decathlete has had a solid start to his season, clearing a lifetime best mark in the pole vault last weekend and coming off of a great indoor season.

The decathletes are in for some competition, however, as four of the eight all-Americans in the NCAA Indoor Championship will be competing against them today, as well.

Training for the decathletes is intense.

They practice hard every day as they only have this meet and the Pac-12 Championships to qualify for the NCAAs.

“The guys on the team almost train the most because they have to learn 10 events, and they have to train for all 10,” Jarvis said.

“I’m just looking forward to them putting a good meet together.”

For junior David Thomas, this meet will be a chance to see if his hard work will pay off after being injured for some time this season.

“Last week I felt really good, and I’m ready to put up a big score,” Thomas said.

Thomas is especially excited to have a chance to compete against his former teammate Nicholas Armstrong from Cerritos Junior College, who took first place in the decathlon in the 2009 California Community College State Championships, while Thomas placed second.

“We’re both really pumped to be competing against each other again.”

Only those ranked in the top 24 will qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

“With all the work we put in, I’m expecting a better mark,” senior Trent Perez said.

“We just have to go out there and compete, do the best we can do and not worry about times. We’ll just go out there, run hard and jump far.”

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