Thursday, June 7, 2012

Boise State 68th in Learfield Cup

The Broncos sit at #68 in the Learfield Cup, which measures the overall strength of each school's athletic department.  With Kurt Felix's national championship today, that should add more points.

We can use last year's championships to estimate the Learfield points.  Alabama finished 25th last year in track and field with 10 points, the same number that Boise State has this year, and received 46 points.  The actual team standings will vary, and the Broncos could be lower than 25th, but it gives us some idea on the point distribution.

Boise State in 7th in NCAA Men's Track Championships

It won't last, of course, because Felix was the only Bronco man entered in the Championships.  However, the points will count towards the Learfield Cup.

BREAKING: Kurt Felix of Boise State Wins National Championship in Decathlon

Kurt Felix of Boise State won the men's decathlon at the NCAA National Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.  Felix scored a school record 8,062 points to take the two-day, 10-event grueling individual competition.

He did it in style, too.  In third place with two events to go, Felix had the javelin (one of his best events) and the 1,500-meter run (one of his worst events) remaining.  Kurt threw the spear 227-feet, 6-inches to earn 880 points in that event and take the lead by 147 points over Florida State's Gonzalo Barroilhet.  Felix had accumulated 7,400 points after nine events to 7,253 for Barroilhet, 7,233 for Romaine Martin of Texas-Arlington, 7,219 for Kevin Lazas of Arkansas and 7,150 for Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas.

It came down to the 1,500, a monster of an event in any circumstances, but downright harrowing if it's the 10th event in two days against the best collegiate athletes in the United States.  Felix ran the distance in 5:15 at the Mountain West Championships, and would have finished third at the NCAA's with that time.

Kurt was too close to the championship for that, however.  He let it fly, and completed the distance in 4:42, just seven seconds shy of his personal best.  No one in the nation could do well enough to overcome Kurt's decathlon lead, and the Bronco from Grenada captured Boise State's sixth individual track & field championship.

Felix opened the competition by finishing second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.90 seconds.  That earned the Bronco senior 883 points.  Lazas was 10th in the event with a time of 11.05 for 850 points.  Felix then won the long jump competition by leaping 24-3 1/2 to get 910 points.  Lazas was second with a mark of 24-0 3/4 for 893 points.

The shot put was next, not one of Kurt's strengths, but he did manage to place 12th with a heave of 42-11 for 672 points.  Lazas gained some ground here with a shot put of 46-2 3/4 for 734 points.  On to the fourth event, the high jump, where Kurt cleared 6-8 3/4 for 850 points.  Lazas was right behind with 6-6 3/4 for 794 points.  The decathlon standings after four events:

1.  Kurt Felix, Boise State 3,315
2.  Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 3,312
3.  Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 3,271
4.  Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 3,255
5.  Nick Huber, Cornell 3,163

The final event of the first day was the 400, and Kurt finished off Day One by finishing 7th with a time of 58.77 for 872 points.  Lazas was behind Kurt with 51.34 seconds and 754 points.  Felix had the lead after five tough events, but he'd been here before.  He was leading the nation in the multi-event heptathlon after five events when he was unable to clear a height in the pole vault.  And he'd have to conquer that demon on Day Two if he had any hope of being near the top of the nation's best decathletes.  Here were the standings after the first day:

1.  Kurt Felix, Boise State 4,187 points
2.  Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 4,177
3.  Nick Huber, Cornell 4,065
4.  Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 4,053
5.  Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 4,025
5.  Isaac Murphy, Texas 4,025

It was evident that Kurt had been training hard, for he had bettered his marks at the Mountain West Championships in several events.  But was it good enough to be the best in the nation?  All Bronco eyes were on Kurt in Des Moines as he competed to realize his dream:  a national championship.

The first event of the day on Thursday was the 110-meter hurdles.  Felix placed 11th with a time of 15.01 for a solid 848 points, while Lazas finished in 15.12 for 835 points.  Felix had a 175-point lead on the eventual runner-up.  But Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas was making a charge and now took over the lead:

1.  Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 5,087
2.  Kurt Felix, Boise State 5,035
3.  Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 4,959
4.  Nick Huber, Cornell 4,939
5.  Isaac Murphy, Texas 4,916
6.  Terry Prentice, Arkansas 4,906
7.  Japheth  Cato, Wisconsin 4,873
8.  Romaine Martin, Texas-Arlington 4,872
9.  Gonzalo Barroilhet, Florida State 4,864
10.  Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 4,860

Competition moved to the discus, where Felix took sixth with a career-best toss of 136-2 for 695 points.  Lazas finished the discus with a best of 133-6 for 679 points and Nixon slipped a bit here with a throw of 119-8 for 593 points.  Felix's discus throw was good enough to take the lead back after seven events:

1.  Kurt Felix, Boise State 5,730
2.  Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 5,686
3.  Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 5,680
4.  Nick Huber, Cornell 5,621
5.  Romaine Martin, Texas-Arlington 5,552

It was now time to deal with that pole vault demon.  Kurt easily cleared his first height and several others after that.  When he was done, he finished with a career-best height of 15-1, a very respectable 790 points.  At that moment, Felix had conquered that bad memory and had to begin thinking he had a shot.  Lazas made a strong move in the vault with a great mark of 16-8 3/4 for 941 points.  

Although Felix slipped to third in the decathlon standings, he knew he was within range.  Kurt won the javelin, then slammed the door on the competition with his excellent finish in the 1,500.

Felix finished with 8,062 points to beat Romain Martin of UT-Arlington, who had 7,956.  Lazas finished third with 7,955.

Felix scored 10 team points for Boise State, which should be enough to score points in the Learfield Cup, which awards points in each NCAA sport to determine the schools with the best overall athletics program.  

Boise State has had a pretty storied history in track and field.  Jake Jacoby won the NCAA high jump title in 1984, Eugene Green won the triple jump national title in 1991, Jerred Rome won the 2011 USA national discus championship, Gabe Wallin won two NCAA titles in the javelin (2004 and 2005), Eleni Kafourou won the women's long jump championship in 2010, and now add the smiling Kurt Felix to that list.

Way to go Kurt--all of Bronco Nation is proud of you!

Felix Runs 1,500 in 4:42

I believe that will be enough to win it!

1,500 about to start

Go Kurt Go!

1,500 Times for Decathletes

Gunnar Nixon (4:30.44)
Kevin Lazas (4:47.87)
Gonzalo Barroilhet (4:49.19)
Bjorn Barrefors (4:52.51)
Romaine Martin (5:09.74)
Kurt Felix (5:15.60)

20 Minutes Until 1,500 Meters

The decathletes are getting a well-deserved rest while they wait for the 10th event, the grueling 1,500, especially after they have competed in nine events.

Kurt Felix of Boise State leads by 147 points, and needs to run as close to 5 minutes as he can.

Felix Wins Decathlon Pole Vault

Men's DecathlonJavelin Throw

Standings automatically update
PosNameFltMarkPointsAttempt 1Attempt 2Attempt 3Attempt 4Attempt 5Attempt 6
1Kurt Felix
  SR - Boise State
269.36m227-6880 62.57m
(1) 205-3
(1) 224-10
(1) 227-6
2Romain Martin
  JR - Texas-Arlington
164.16m210-6801 58.45m
(2) 191-9
(2) 210-6
3Dakotah Keys
  FR - Oregon
261.37m201-4758 57.65m
(3) 189-1
(3) 201-4
(3) 199-4
4Kevin Lazas
  SO - Arkansas
260.09m197-1739 57.18m
(4) 187-7
(5) 178-7
(4) 197-1
5Tomas Kirielius
  JR - Kansas State
259.46m195-1730 FOUL59.46m
(4) 195-1
(5) 187-1
6Clayton Chaney
  JR - Rice
257.12m187-5695 41.30m
(19) 135-6
(6) 187-5
(6) 181-3
7Marcus Nilsson
256.45m185-2685 51.97m
(7) 170-6
(7) 185-2
(7) 181-7
8Heath Nickles
  JR - Ohio State
256.42m185-1684 47.12m
(14) 154-7
(14) 169-10
(8) 185-1
9Gunnar Nixon
  FR - Arkansas
256.12m184-1680 49.86m
(10) 163-7
(8) 184-1
(9) 182-7
10Thomas FitzSimons
  SR - Mount St. Mary's
155.77m182-11674 49.98m
(9) 163-11
(9) 180-10
(10) 182-11
11Gonzalo Barroilhet
  SR - Florida State
154.85m179-11661 54.85m
(5) 179-11
(10) 172-8
(11) 161-4
12Petter Olson
  FR - Texas
254.75m179-7659 49.32m
(12) 161-9
(11) 179-7
(12) 178-10
13Daniel Gooris
  JR - Northern Iowa
252.69m172-10628 52.69m
(6) 172-10
(12) 163-5
(13) 163-4
14Bjorn Barrefors
  JR - Nebraska
152.48m172-2625 44.81m
(15) 147-0
(13) 172-2
(14) 171-2
15Jeff Mohl
  JR - Montana State
151.60m169-3612 51.60m
(8) 169-3
(15) 155-9
(15) 162-1
16Dave Grzesiak
  SR - Wisconsin
149.77m163-3585 49.77m
(11) 163-3
(16) 157-3
(16) 152-8
17Terry Prentice
  SR - Arkansas
149.37m161-11579 42.33m
(18) 138-10
(17) 161-11
(17) 159-0
18Isaac Murphy
  JR - Texas
148.77m160-0570 48.55m
(13) 159-3
(18) 160-0
(18) 152-4
19Nick Huber
  SR - Cornell
145.25m148-5519 43.03m
(17) 141-2
(19) 148-5
(19) 138-11
20Japheth Cato
  SO - Wisconsin
143.81m143-9498 43.81m
(16) 143-9
(20) 130-0
(20) 142-10
DNSJack Szmanda
  JR - Minnesota
DNSJake Waruch
  JR - Connecticut
DNSDerek Masterson
  JR - UC Santa Barbara
DNSRichard York
  JR - New Mexico