Geneseo's decathelte Will Daniels competes at Olympic Trials

Claudia Loucks
Will Daniels, in the yellow Iowa shirt, is shown with the entire decathlon group at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR, after the 1500 run. The photo includes the three athletes that will be going to Tokyo.
Todd Ehlert, at right, Geneseo Middle School Track & Field Coach and Geneseo High School Cross Country Coach, traveled to Oregon to watch Geneseo’s Will Daniels in the Olympic Trials for the decathlon.

“An unforgettable experience” is how Will Daniels responded when asked to comment about his recent trip to Eugene, OR, where he competed in the National Meet and Olympic Trial decathlon.

In Oregon, Daniels first competed in the recent 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 were held in Eugene, OR, with the nationals on June 9-10 and the Olympic Trials for the decathlon on June 18-19.

“I had a blast at Hayward Field both for Nationals and Trials,” he said. “I wasn’t able to put together my best performances from the season like I was hoping to, but it was still an unforgettable experience and one that I am extremely grateful for.”

He said it also “felt great” to put together a solid score in his final NCAA meet and contribute points to the team effort by finishing in the top eight.

“Going into the Trials, I felt much more relaxed knowing that I had already experienced the atmosphere in the stadium and knew what to expect in each event,” he said. “I’ve looked up to the top group of professional decathletes since starting the sport my freshman year, so it was really fun to compete alongside them and get to know many of the guys throughout the competition.”

Most of the athletes who competed in the decathlon trials were older, Daniels said, and added that “only four of us were collegiate, the rest were all older.”

“It also felt great to have so many messages of support from friends and family back in Geneseo, as well as my friends from Central College,” he said. “Along with an amazing family, God has surrounded me with great friends and coaches at each school I have attended which made these meets extra rewarding as I was able to share the experiences with everyone who has helped me along the way.”

His parents, Dr. Tom and Becky Daniels drove to Oregon to watch their son compete, and his sister, Rachel, flew to Oregon from Pella, Iowa, where she is a student at Central College, to cheer for her brother.

“My coach from Central College and my former training partner drove all the way out from Iowa, and my middle school track coach was also able to make it out to watch the Trials,” Daniels said.

When asked what event he most enjoyed, Daniels responded, “I probably had the most fun throwing the javelin at the Trials. My first throw of the competition was anew personal best, and it ended up being my only personal best from the trip.”