While the Pentathlon may be the more commonly contested event within New York, the full Decathlon is available to those athletes looking to make Team USA in the numerous International Youth opportunities hosted around the World. Even then, some age groups meets use underweight and underheight implements. As such, record eligible marks have been limited to those looking to pursue the sports toughest events at the highest level. But for one breakout freshman this year, the challenge was made for the taking.
Neil Howard (Taconic Hills) has already made a name for himself, setting the Freshman State Record in the Pole Vault, while also setting the Freshman State Leader in three other events. Nearly halfway to the full decathlon already, it was only natural for Howard to transition to the multi's.
Competing at the USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Champs down in Florida, Howard came away with the overall win in the Boys 15-16 Age Group Decathlon, with a whopping 6,316 points. His first major stab at the event, his total would've placed him 5th overall in the more experienced 17-18 Age Group Division.
Given the scarcity of the offerings for the event, no Freshman State Record is currently on the books. However, the total exceeded the current Sophomore State Record, held by Rich Beattie at 5345, set in 1984. Those were on the old scoring tables, which would transition in 1985, but regardless, Howard's marks surpass the Sophomore Record, all but guaranteeing him the Freshman Record.
Howard's strongest event was his 51.36 clocking in the 400m dash. The mark would exceed his Pole Vault State Record jump of 14-8, scored at 751, however Howard had stopped at 13-5.5 amidst the Decathlon. His weakest event was the Javelin, where he only scored 416 points. Notably, Javelin is one of the few events New York State does not contest at the High School Level.
You can check out his full point breakdown below.
There has been much internal discussion on the marks created down in Florida by the freshman. In New York State, we hold the multi-event Pentathlon at the State and Local level. Technically supposed to be held over the course of one day, our State Meet allows for the event to be broken up over two adjoining days. As such, we accept State Records from either format.
The question becomes, can you set a Pentathlon State Record en-route to a Decathlon? Howard has done just that. Totaling the points from the five events contested in a Pentathlon, his total of 3,229 would break the existing Freshman State Record of 3130, set by John Swabik (CSP) back in 2018. Without a State Meet in 2021, Howard didn't have the opportunity to chase that mark. In theory, he would be more tired for some of his events than would a typical pentathlete be, so should it count?
After consulting with several notable names in the sport, the mark will be listed with an asterisk, and not count for a State Record. The rationale being that the Decathlon order is too varied from the standard Pent, that it would not be an apples-to-apples comparison.
Still, if this mark is any indication, Howard is an athlete to watch in the coming years, in any of the multi disciplines.
Full Scoring Breakdown
|Long Jump||21-8.25||723 pts|
|Shot Put||38-1.5||583 pts|
|High Jump||5-7||544 pts|
|110 Hurdles||16.12||719 pts|
|Pole Vault||13-5.5||645 pts|