Olympics might be next for Geneseo's Will Daniels

Claudia Loucks
Will Daniels competing in the high hurdles.
Will Daniels, representing the University of Iowa, in competing in the pole vault portion of the decathlon.

Dedication and determination may best describe Will Daniels of Geneseo.

The young man continues to accomplish the many goals he sets for himself – academically and in athletics - and his next step is to compete in the decathlon at the National Track & Field Meet in Eugene, OR, where he also plans to compete in the Olympic Trial decathlon.

Daniels, son of Dr. Tom and Becky Daniels of Geneseo, is remembered in the local area for his accomplishments in the Geneseo School District classrooms as well as in football, basketball and track and field.

He graduated from Central College in three years during which he captured three national championships in track and field and is a five-time All-American.

Most recently, he graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and is hoping to start medical school in the future.

At Geneseo High School, where Daniels graduated from in 2016, he competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

At Central College, the stand out athlete competed in the decathlon, a two-day event, in the 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m dash, on Day 1; and on Day 2, he was in the 110 high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500.

At Iowa, he finished in second place indoor in 2020 Big 10 meet, a spot which qualified him for the Division I competition that was to have been held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before the event was called off due to the outbreak of Covid-19. He and his teammates traveled to Albuquerque on March 11, and the meet was cancelled the next day.

A two-time NCAA Division III heptathlon champion indoors at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Daniels also won the Division III decathlon championship outdoors.

He placed second in the Big 10 Championship held earlier this spring at the University of Illinois where he also received All-Conference honors and broke the University of Iowa Decathlon record with a score of 7864 points. That score places him 6th in Davison 1 competition and puts him in 11th place on the Olympic Trial List.

While at Iowa, Daniels broke the school indoor heptathlon record with a score of 5689 points.

The next step for Daniels is to travel to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the National Meet, which features the top 24 collegiate athletes in each event and the Olympic Trials

take the top 18 U.S. athletes. Both the National Meet and the Olympic Trials will be held in Eugene, OR, with the nationals June 9-10 and the Olympic Trials for the decathlon June 18-19.

The new state-of-the-art track at the University of Oregon has the distinction of being the fastest track in the world.

In talking with Daniels by phone from the campus of Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas, where he is training for the Nationals, I found him to be very modest and humble about his accomplishments.

He said the Olympics are not something he had ever thought of….”Definitely not,” he answered. “Over the last year or two a lot of people have kind of joked about me trying out for the Olympics and I never thought that opportunity would be possible.”

His main focus is competing at the NCAA Meet and he said, “I feel like our training has been going really well and the primary focus is the National Meet. I am looking forward to being able to compete the best that I can, and against some of the best decathletes in the world.”

He thinks his chances of making the Olympics “are very slim. I would have to finish in the top 3 at the trials and I also would have to meet an Olympic standard of 8,350 points. That score is a little out of reach for me, Even though making it to Tokyo (for the Olympics) is a little out of reach, it is an awesome opportunity to be able to compete at the National level and against several Olympians in the field, which will be really cool.”

When asked about his favorite event in the decathlon, Daniels said, “I kind of choose my favorite events on how I have been doing most recently, and events are up and down on any week, but right now long jump has been going really well so that is the event I am most looking forward to, based on training and the last few competitions.”