Competition begins today in the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, and the U.N.I. Panthers have five events headed to the competition. Junior Daniel Gooris is U.N.I.’s only double-entrant.
He’ll compete in both the decathlon and the pole vault. The decathlon can typically be a grueling event, but Gooris says he knows he’s in good shape for the next three days of competition. Gooris says it would probably be a strain for any other meet, but he says this is the national meet and he probably won’t realize how tired he is until afterward.
Gooris says he enjoys the decathlon because it does require an athlete to be superior in multiple skills. “I think it’s just sort of fun whenever you go to a track meet and it’s not just one and done…it keeps you motivated, you are always learning something,” He says.
Gooris has been focusing on improving his speed in the two weeks since he qualified for Nationals. He says that should help him improve in all of his events this week. In the pole vault, Gooris will be competing at the same stadium where he set a U.N.I. school record just a few weeks ago at the Drake Relays. He says he always enjoys competing at Drake.
“I love that track and that was where one of my breakthrough competitions came,” Gooris says. He says that allowed him to really move ahead as a competitor.
Also competing for U.N.I. today is discus thrower Jordan Williams. Olympia Nowak will begin competition in the heptathlon tomorrow, and Justin Romero is also qualified in the shotput. The Cedar Falls native throws on Saturday.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls