Wise Wins Decathlon Title at USA Junior Championships

June 24, 2010

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RunnerSpace.com Videos: Wise Runs 14.50 in the 110 Hurdles | Wise Runs 4:48.67  in the 1,500 Meters to Cement His Title

DES MOINES, Iowa - After never having a national champion in the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the University of South Florida program can now boast a pair of champions in two straight years.

Facing a narrowing lead heading into the final event of the decathlon, freshman Neamen Wise ran just fast enough in the 1,500 meters to give the USF athlete the decathlon title at the Championships at Drake Stadium Thursday.
RunnerSpace.com Exclusive: Interview with Wise After His Victory

With the win, Wise will compete in the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships, July 19-25, in Moncton, Canada. The top two finishers in each event from the junior championships will compete in Moncton, provided they have met the qualifying standard.

The multi-talented Wise, who missed a good portion of the 2010 indoor and outdoor seasons due to injury, totaled 7,300 points over the two days of competition, just edging out Kevin Lazas, who tallied 7,291 points.

"It feels really good to be the junior decathlon champion," said Wise. "I'm glad I was finally able to get something done this year. I couldn't train at all for a while because of my injury, so it feels really good to overcome that and come out here and get the title."

Wise followed in the footsteps of USF sophomore Casey Wagner, who won the junior national championship at last year's meet in the javelin. Wagner went on to compete in the Junior Pan Am Games in Trinidad & Tobago last summer.

To top the day off, former Olympic gold medalist and American decathlon record-holder Dan O'Brien interviewed Wise on the field and handed the USF freshman his medal.

"I got to talk to him yesterday a little bit," said Wise. "We talked about the decathlon and he gave me some advice. That was a pretty cool experience right there."

Because of the difference in the weight for the shot put and discus between the junior championships and the NCAA, Wise's point total doesn't count as the USF school record. Former Bull Grant Scelzi owns the school record with 6,532 points.

Beginning the day with the 110 hurdles, the 2009 Florida state champion (300 hurdles) showed off his speed when he ran 14.50 in the 110 hurdles, finished ahead of second-place finisher Gunnar Nixon, who posted a time of 14.63.

He followed that performance up with a second-place showing in the discus, as he launched it 136-6 to finish behind Austin Bahner, who threw 139-10.

Holding a 33-point lead heading into the last event of the day, the 1,500 meters, Wise finished eighth with a time of 4:48.67 for the final nine-point margin over Lazas.

"I knew I had to keep him within four or five seconds," said Wise. "The same thing happened at the Nike Indoor Nationals last year, so I was prepared and knew what I had to do."

In other events on the day, Wise took fifth in the javelin after a heave of 168-11. He also finished ninth in the pole vault after clearing 12-9.5.

Wise, who won the USATF Junior Olympic Championship in the decathlon and the Nike Indoor National Championship in the pentathlon in high school, took third at last year's USA Junior Championships.

He recently completed his rookie season despite missing a good portion of the indoor and outdoor seasons due to a leg injury. Wise finished seventh in the long jump at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships and also competed in the 400 hurdles. He was also an indoor qualifier in the 60 meters, 60 hurdles and long jump.

Sponsored by USA Track & Field, the Junior Championships bring together the best track and field athletes ages 19 and under.

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