EUGENE, Ore. — Holding their own against some of the best decathletes in the world, Central College graduates Will Daniels and Kurtis Brondyke competed at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials over the week.
Daniels, a 2019 Central graduate, and Brondyke, a 2011 grad, qualified for the meet after having two of the top-18 decathlon scores by American athletes since January 1, 2019. Daniels placed 14th with 6,803 points and Brondyke was 15th with 6,575 points.
Garrett Scantling won the event with 8,647 points. Joining Scantling in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics will be Steven Bastien (8,485 points) and Zach Ziemek (8,471 points).
Daniels finished eighth in the javelin throw (185 feet, 8.75 inches) and was ninth in the high jump (6-7.5). He took a zero in the 400-meter dash after being disqualified for a lane violation. Daniels had a busy spring of decathlons after competing at the Big 10 Championships on May 14-15, the NCAA Division I West Preliminary May 26-27 and the NCAA Division I Championships June 9-10 for the University of Iowa.
“It was his third decathlon in five and half weeks,” associate head coach Jim Fuller said. That’s really hard to do and it showed a little bit. He had some good events so it was unfortunate he got disqualified in the 400. There’s a lot more lane judges at an event like this so if you step on a line they will see it. I don’t think it took away from his experience. He got to be around some of the very best decathletes in the country and compete against them for the last two days.”
Brondyke had the fifth-best pole vault mark (199-3.75) in the field, but also absorbed a zero with no mark in the high jump. Brondyke has been an assistant coach at the University of Central Missouri since 2012.
“He just hasn’t had a lot of time to train while he’s been coaching,” Fuller said. “He’s well liked by everyone out there and he’s one of the older guys that keeps everyone settled down. I think it was a valuable experience for him as well.”
Associate head track and field coach Jim Fuller made the trip with Ryan Kruse, another former NCAA Division III qualifier in the decathlon who graduated in 2018 to support Daniels and Brondyke. Fuller and Kruse also sat with Kip Janvrin, the head coach at Central Missouri and a 2000 American Olympian in the decathlon
“I hadn’t been to the trials since 1996 when I went to watch Kip,” Fuller said. “If you love track and field, going to the Trials is a great experience and it was so much fun to be there and watch Will and Kurtis.”
In addition to Will and Kurtis, Jack Flood a 2018 graduate of SUNY-Cortland was also in the field, meaning three Division III national champions competed.
“Those three prove that it doesn’t matter what level you compete at in college,” Fuller said. “It only matters what you can do on the track.”
At Central, Daniels earned All-American status four times and won three national championships. He won the NCAA Division III decathlon title in 2019 and won the heptathlon crown in 2018 and 2019. In six conference championship meets for the Dutch, he finished in the top three of individual events 16 times.
During his four years at Central, Brondyke earned NCAA Division III All-American honors four times and was a national champion at the indoor meet in 2011 in the pentathlon. He finished fifth in the decathlon in 2009 and 2010 and was the runner-up 2011. Brondyke is now an assistant coach at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.