Heptathlon

The best coach you’ve never heard of: Oliver Hanf, CSU Chico

When you think of DII Track and Field, you probably think of St. Augustine’s or Abilene Christian (if you think of anything at all).  Those two universities combined have all but one of the Men DII championship titles in the last 30 years.

Of the 168 DII scholarship schools, my Alma Matter CSU Chico  has never won a DII title (I also ran for CSU Northridge and was lucky enough to be a part of the runner-up team in 1990).  But in recent years, CSU Chico has started to make waves in several events…one being my favorite, the Decathlon.  Here’s a quick look at some recent results:

chico_dec_x41999: Trevor Papp: 3rd
2000: Trevor Papp — had best score in nation, but missed nationals due to an injury
2001: J.J. Nobel: 1st,  Erick Knight: 6th
2010: Talor Fulfer: 4th
2011: Talor Fulfer: 5th
2012: J Patrick Smith: 1st, John Brunk: 4th
2013: J Patrick Smith: 1st, Theodore Elsenbaumer: No height in PV cost him 2nd.
*Moreover, J Patrick Smith, Theodore Elsenbaumer, John Brunk, and Adam Nikssaria (who qualified provisionally, but missed going by 25 points) are all returning this year.

In January, I caught up with the driving force behind this success: Oliver Hanf (affectionately known as Coach O).  Joining us for a quick 45 minute chat (we could have talked for many more hours) was John Brunk to lend the athlete’s perspective.  Here are some paraphrased excerpts that you might find interesting.

What’s special about Chico Track & Field?

One thing that Kirk Freitas has always done is endeavored to create a “team” in an individual sport.  In our sport, there’s such differences “of events” and therefore often times personalities, it’s tricky to “mesh it”.  So you try to come up with ways to do that. One thing we do is have athletes occasionally warm up with different groups.  In two weeks from now, we’re going to have a 140 person game of duck-duck-goose; six circles of 20+ random athletes….and the runner has to change circles.  It’s team building.  The very next day, we have our inter-squad Cardinal and White meet.  There’s always a theme and this year it “Animal Kingdom”.  Last year it was “Superheroes and Villians”.  Everyone has to dress up.  We photograph all that stuff, we post it to Facebook.  The idea is to connect.

I ask this tongue in cheek, because we know there is no such thing, but what is your secret?  A special workout or weight program?  Something that you do that you think others might not.

The one hour decathlon.  It’s gives us something to latch onto in the fall.  We’re working towards May, but it’s a little stepping stone.  It’s something you have to gear up for a little bit.  It’s right after Thanksgiving.  I’ve wanted to do it for years…the guy that told me you “just do it” was Kip Janvrin. Continue reading

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Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Heptathlon | Leave a comment

It’s Official — well, kind of

My M40 Indoor Heptathlon record was finally posted to the USA Track & Field website…in a PENDING status.  Here’s the link to the M40 page.

In celebration, here’s a few videos of an old man competing (me).

Also, later today I’ll post Part 2 of Harry Marra talks about Ashton Eaton’s training.

Continue reading

Categories: American Record, Decathlon, Heptathlon, Pole Vault | Leave a comment

Harry Marra Talks about Ashton Eaton’s training (video) Part 1

Here’s more from the “World’s Greatest Track & Field Clinic.”  This clinic was on Feb 3, 2013 at Westmont College.  The clinic benefited the “Women’s Athletic Performance Foundation” — http://www.wapf.us/

They are always looking for donations, so if you like what you see, go to http://www.wapf.us/donate-with-paypal.html and donate. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Heptathlon | Leave a comment

My Masters American Record — or when is a Record not a Record

I don’t typically write about myself on this blog, but this is a special occasion, so here it goes…

My American Record

Over the weekend of March 3, 2012, I broke the “recognized” M40 Heptathlon American Record.  I’m super proud of my accomplishment, but at the same time I know there should be an asterisk by my name and mark.

Here’s a link to the USATF 40-44 American Records — unfortunately, I have no idea when it will be updated.  When it is, my name will appear on the same list as such greats as Dwight Stone (HJ world record holder, 2 time Olympic metalist), Gail Deavers (3 time Olympic Gold metalist, 5 time world outdoor champion, 4 time indoor world champion: 100m, 100H, 4×100), Brian Oldfield (SP world record holder and Olympian), Johnny Gray (800M American Record Holder and Olympic Bronze metalist), Pat Manson (PV 19foot club, 3 time Pan American games champion), Ray Kimble (TJ — 57′ club).  It’s completely surreal.  But that’s Masters track for you; you get some true greats on the same list as some really goods. Continue reading

Categories: Decathlon, Heptathlon, Sprinting, Throwing | 2 Comments

Shot Put — Shuffle Technique — Ashton Eaton video

I attended a clinic on Feb 3th given by Harry Marra, Ashton Eaton, and Brianna Theisen. We were allowed to shadow their regular training day and ask questions at the end of each event. I plan to post a few article based on the clinic, the first being this one.

The first event was Shot Put, and if you don’t already know, Ashton and Brianna follow the very unconventional technique usually called “The Shuffle”. Purest scoff at this technique, but I’m not convinced it doesn’t have its place, especially with multi-eventers. There are at least two professional women now using this technique, both with PRs over 20m (for reference, 20.00m would have gotten you 4th at the 2012 Olympics).

Anna Avdeeva placing 3rd at EU Championship. See 0:55 second at the following video.

Petra Lammert throwing 19.22m can be seen here.

Finally, here is the video from the clinic. Continue reading

Categories: Decathlon, Heptathlon, Shot Put, Throwing | 4 Comments

An hour with Sharon Day

I wouldn’t call this an interview, because I’m far from the braodcast type.  It is what it is, which is a poorly recorded chat I had with the world class Sharon Day at the local Starbucks.  The background noise occasionally gets in the way; after all the whole thing is recorded on my iphone.  I stumble over my questions repeatedly…but Sharon is a pro interviewee and carries the whole thing.  It was an absolute pleasure to steal her for over an hour after a Monday workout.  I had a blast just talking track with one of the best athletes in the world.  Even given all it’s faults, I think you’ll enjoy it. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Dorsiflexion, Heptathlon, Sprinting | Leave a comment