GOLDEN, Colo. – Brad Gamble was tired of being a spectator at track and field meets this spring. During Monday’s decathlon at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships, all eyes were on him.
Gamble, the 2011 indoor national champion in the heptahtlon, who hasn’t been able to complete a decathlon the entire outdoor season because of a nagging groin injury, didn’t let anything get in his way en route to winning the event and qualifying for the NCAA Division II Outdoors National Championships in the process.
“It felt really good to just get out there and compete,” Gamble said. “I was tired of watching track meets and it seems like that’s all I’ve been doing the last month. I’m used to competing in a lot of events and so it was hard to sit out. But today went well and to end the conference season with a title is always a good thing.”
Gamble scored 6,808 points and became just the second CSC man to win the event at the RMAC meet. Ryan Baily, now the Chadron State track and field head coach, won the decathlon with 6,134 points in 2001.
Also in the decathlon, Chadron State’s Sean Munger placed fourth with 5,555 points. Among the highlights for Munger were a first place finish in the discus (115-feet, 2-inches) and a second place finish in the javelin (166-8).
Gamble won six of 10 events – the 100 and 400 meters, the shot put, the 110 hurdles, the long jump and the pole vault – and he also tied for first in the high jump.
He ran the 100 in 10.95 seconds and the 110 hurdles in 15.27, despite not running out of the starting blocks for fear of re-injuring his groin.
“It was weird not running out of the blocks,” he said. “I’ve gone out of them since seventh grade and it was tough to get a good start because it was awkward not being in the blocks. I felt like I adjusted, though, and I was happy with the times I ran.”
He also set personal bests in the 400 (48.64) and the shot put (38-9 ¾), and tied with Nebraska-Kearney runner-up Bryson Mahlberg, who scored 6,453 points, in the high jump (6-5).
Admittedly, though, the pole vault gave Gamble some grief. He missed his first two attempts at 10-6 before skying over the pole on his third and final try. After those initial misses, Gamble cruised to win with a mark of 12-8 ¼.
“On my last jump (at 10-6) I didn’t know if I was going to make it over and I really think it was sheer luck,” Gamble joked. “It was a horrible vault, but things like that happen in the decathlon. You have to always remain positive because it’s almost all mental. After that jump I felt a lot more confident.”
Gamble’s total currently ranks him second in the nation behind Central Missouri’s Brent Vogel, the same competitor Gamble clipped to win the national championship indoors in February.
While Gamble knows he won’t likely sneak up on anyone at the national outdoor meet May 27-29 at Stanislaus, Calif., he isn’t feeling any pressure.
“Even though today wasn’t my best day, I feel like nothing went horribly wrong and I know I can do better,” he said. “I still have three weeks where I can train and work on the things I need to improve. I’m excited for nationals.”
In addition to Munger and Gamble, Chadron State had an excellent showing in the women’s heptathlon. Stacee Craig finished second with 4,649 points and Michaela Odenbaugh was eighth with 3,684.
Craig set a personal best by over 300 points and currently ranks in the top 20 of Division II with her score. She tied for first in the high jump with an effort of 5-2 ¼ and was second in the shot put (37-3 ¼) and 200 (25.65).
Baily said Odenbaugh set a personal record in all of her events. A fifth place throw of 100-10 in the javelin for fifth place was her highest finish.
UNK’s Jena Isaacson won the event with 4,903 points.
—Alex Helmbrecht, Sports Information Director
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