Will Daniels breaks NCAA heptathlon record.
Records are made to be broken, and Will Daniels was made to break records.
A 2016 Geneseo graduate and track star, Daniels recorded the best heptathlon mark in NCAA Division III men’s track and field history.
A junior, Central College’s Daniels set a new standard with a total of 5,441 points earning him the Wartburg Select title by over 400 points on Feb. 2.
Daniels broke the 2012 record of 5,434 set at the Division III National Championships by Richard Roethel of Christopher Newport University, Va.
At the indoor season opener at Doane College Dec. 2, Daniels was just a few points shy of the record, finishing with a new school record of 5,423 across the seven events.
At Wartburg on Feb. 2, Daniels’ record-setting performance came down to the final event, needing to score enough points in the 1,000-meter run to eclipse the national record.
“It made it more exciting since it was so close,” Daniels said. “It’s something I never expected to happen coming out of high school. With no real background in most of the events, it’s been a really pleasant surprise. It’s exciting to have that weight off my shoulders, and I don’t have to worry about it now.”
The 2018 indoor heptathlon national champion, Daniels’ best score last season was 5,287, which he’s already eclipsed twice.
“It’s become about being more well-rounded as a heptathlete and decathlete,” Daniels said. “I tried to get stronger and in better shape during the offseason. It’s really been becoming more technical in the hurdles and the pole vault to really improve from last year.”
Daniels built a solid lead after the first four events at Wartburg.
He began the meet with a time of 7.01 seconds in the 60-meter dash and followed that up with a mark of 22’0.75” in the long jump. He chucked the shot 42’7” and cleared 6’9” in the high jump.
Then he finished the 60 hurdles in 8.70, and he cleared 14’5.25” in the pole vault – a personal best.
Having not competed in the heptathlon since Dec. 2, Daniels had been competing in open events at meets to improve in the hurdles and in the pole vault as well as distance training to prepare for the 1,000 dash.
“Those are the ones we have really been focusing on,” Daniels said. “They really paid off in the meet this weekend.”
Daniels performance earned him the NCAA Division III National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Daniels was named the American Rivers Conference men’s field event performer of the week for his efforts in the heptathlon for the second time this season.
It’s the fourth time in Daniels career that he has been named the indoor field performer of the week.
Daniels has a goal of taking a run at setting a new standard at the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championship in Boston, Mass., on March 8.