By SHAWN PRICE, Arkansas Athletics Department
WALNUT, California – Arkansas transfer multi-event star Ayden Owens broke the collegiate decathlon record and set a world-leading score of 8,528 points to win the event on a fruitful evening at the 2022 Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday (14).
Big personal best and records for Ayden Owens
The standard set by Owens on the evening also improved his own Puerto Rican national record, as he surpassed his previous best score of 8,238 pts, which was set in 2021 during the Big 10 Championships while he competed for Michigan.
Meanwhile, the previous wind-legal collegiate record was 8,484 points and was set by Georgia’s Karel Tilga in April of 2021.
Owens’ score bettered the 8,405 pts previous world-leading score by Estonia’s Janek Oiglane, while he also overtook Georgia’s Kyle Garland (8,133 pts) and Texas’ Leo Neugebauer (8,131 pts) as the NCAA D1 event leaders in 2022.
“I just came here to execute,” said Owens, who also broke Tom Pappas’ 8,431 stadium record, set in 2002.
“I listen to Coach Geopfert, and I put up a good ten events and focused on the process. The result was great, 8,500 points. I feel blessed to be in this situation.
“It’s a big score, but there is a lot more to come. If you look at my decathlon here, there are some good performances, some mediocre performances, and some bad performances.
“That’s how a decathlon goes. Once we clean that up going throughout the season and tune things up, it’s going to be pretty crazy come June and July.”
“I’m super proud of him,” stated Arkansas associate head coach Travis Geopfert. “The way he’s handling the decathlon, in terms of managing each event has just been phenomenal. With swirling winds today, particularly in the pole vault, he did a fantastic job of managing all of that.
“He’s showed his guts again to go out there for a record in the 1,500m. The conversation beforehand, I told him what he needed to do to break 8,500.
“He said I don’t want to hear that, tell me what I need to run. He’s a phenomenal athlete, a great person, and I’m super happy for him.”
Austin West Breaks Iowa school record in second place
Austin West of the University of Iowa finished second in the event with a big personal best and school record score of 8,179pts.
“Austin had an absolutely fantastic 10 events over two days of competition to set not only a school record, but one of the top all-time collegiate best decathlons in NCAA history,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said on the school’s website.
“He is the ultimate competitor and he earned every point with grit and determination. He’s a great representation of Iowa Track and Field.”
After nine events, Owens tally of 7,669 already ranked him No. 6 on the UA all-time list among 10-event scores. Following a victory in the 1,500m with a career-best time of 4:13.17, Owens claimed the Arkansas school record, breaking the previous mark of 8,097 set last year by Markus Ballengee.
Daniel Spejcher is No. 6 on the UA all-time list as he placed fourth in the decathlon with a career-best score of 7,881 to better his previous best of 7,707. Noah Swaby finished 10th with a tally of 7,317 points.
2022 Mt. SAC Relays Men’s Decathlon C/O Standings
1 Ayden Owens Arkansas 8528 – collegiate and national record
2 Austin West Iowa 8179
3 Hakim McMorris California 7941
4 Daniel Spejcher Arkansas 7881
5 JJ Ply Abilene Christian 7857
6 Dylan Cooper Athletic Lab TC 7803
7 Lucas Van Klaveren UT-Arlington 7760
8 Oliver Thorner Washington 7602
9 Denim Rogers Texas Tech 7414
10 Noah Swaby Arkansas 7317
11 Jami Schlueter Washington 7139
12 Taylor Cudequest Unattached 6808