The Edmond Sun


May 5, 2014

Eagle Wallace takes NCCAA decathlon championship in dramatic fashion

ROME, Ga. — Oklahoma Christian sophomore Austin Wallace entered the decathlon’s final event, the 1,500 meters, with a slim two-point lead over the favorite, Justin Young of Azusa Pacific (Calif.). So when Young made his move to the front halfway through the race, Wallace followed.

Eventually Young’s gambit failed, as he wore down and Wallace passed him heading into the final lap. That move clinched for Wallace the national title in the event at the National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday at Barron Stadium.

Wallace, a sophomore out of Deer Creek High School, finished with a career-best 6,428 points and became only the third OC athlete ever to win a national title in the decathlon, joining Jeff Bennett (1969 and 1970) and Gary Hill (1972), who both won NAIA championships.

“It’s pretty fun to win the decathlon, because you go through two whole days, five events a day,” Wallace said. “It feels good to be able to finish it up and do well in most events.

“It’s weird to hear my name next to those guys, because they’re such great athletes from the past, but it feels pretty good.”

Wallace also finished sixth in the javelin Friday and earned 13 team points in his two events, keeping the Eagles in the mix for a top-five finish. Oklahoma Christian, which led the team standings after the first day of the three-day meet, was in third with 29 points, trailing only Bethel (Indiana) with 43.5 and Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 30.

Wallace’s father, Tony Wallace, was a former decathlete for the Eagles and OC head coach Randy Heath had pegged Austin Wallace to become a multi-event performer soon after he signed with OC. Austin Wallace finished second in the NCCAA indoor heptathlon the past two years but missed last year’s NCCAA outdoor meet due to injury.

He made up for lost time this year. He won three events on Thursday — the 100 meters, 400 meters and shot put — to take the lead. He entered Friday with a 213-point lead over Young and expanded it to 220 by winning the 110-meter hurdles, but Young began chipping away in the discus, pole vault and javelin, setting up the showdown in the 1,500.

Knowing it didn’t matter where he finished, as long as he finished ahead of Young, Wallace didn’t concern himself with trying to win the race.

“My plan the whole race was to stick right on him from behind, then beat him out in the end,” Wallace said. “It ended up working out. I was able to get him. I had enough points that I really wasn’t worried about the (other) guys.”

Heath noted the proud history of the decathlon at Oklahoma Christian. The university’s only two Olympians — Bennett and Erich Momberger of Papua, New Guinea, — were decathletes, and Bennett (who set the still-standing school record of 8,072 points in 1970) is now an OC assistant coach, working with multi-event participants such as Wallace.

“There’s a lot of history and tradition there and Jeff is the king of the decathlon in OC history, and then Gary Hill and we’ve had several others since then,” Heath said. “Austin has been a great multi-eventer for us. He’s overcome a lot of things this year to get better in each event. That’s outstanding. I know he’s looking forward to the future, also.”

Wallace headed straight from running the decathlon 1,500 to compete in the javelin. He was ranked third in the event but finished sixth with a throw of 46.29 meters.

In the only other men’s throwing event Friday, Oklahoma Christian senior Nate Donley took 16th in a 19-man field with a mark of 38 meters in the discus.

In the 400 meters, Eagle Joshua Jones was 17th in 51.40 seconds and Trenton Parker 19th in 51.95 seconds in the 26-man field. The Eagles also had a trio of runners in the 200 meters, with Jones finishing 22nd in the 31-man field in 22.75 seconds, Jamal George 25th in 22.86 seconds and Austin Kruzich 29th in 23.14 seconds.

Oklahoma Christian also fielded a 4x800-meter relay team, but the Eagles fell behind early and never contended, finishing last in a nine-team field. All four of OC’s runners — Kyle Broaddrick, Brennym Kaelin, Roberto Diaz and Brayden Barrientez — were using the race as a prep for individual races on Saturday.

Text Only
  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • spts-ESF Max McGreevy state champ.jpg Santa Fe alum McGreevy makes U.S. Amateur

    OU’s Max McGreevy, an Edmond Santa Fe graduate, and University of Tulsa’s Logan McCracken qualified for the 2014 U.S. Amateur, the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) prestigious annual event featuring the world’s finest amateur golfers. This year’s championship will be held at the venerable Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) in Johns Creek, Aug. 9-17.

    Qualifying Players
    Max McGreevy, Edmond 67-65—132
    Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City 69-66—135

    1st Alt. Garrison Mendoza, Clinton 69-71—140
    2nd Alt. Thomas Johnson, Norman 71-69—140

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-OC Rhein Gibson 17 tee.jpg Gibson closes British Open with a 78, 3 birdies in final 6 holes

    Even if he didn’t post the score he wanted, Rhein Gibson left Royal Liverpool Golf Club on Sunday knowing he at least finished strong.
    Gibson’s final-round 6-over-par 78 at the British Open looks a lot better when one considers he birdied three of his final six holes. The Oklahoma Christian alum finished his first major championship at 10-over-par 298 — in 72nd place overall — earning himself a paycheck of $20,840.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-OGA Reid mug.jpg Edmond’s Reid comes back to win Senior Stroke Play

    James Reid, of Edmond, rallied to win the OGA’s Senior Stroke Play Championship with a smoking 67 July 15 at the Trails Country Club in Norman. Edmond’s Jon Valuck tied for fifth place.
    In the pro series, Cameron Meyers of Edmond shot 68-70 for the top prize while Andrew Green of Edmond finished third.

    Oklahoma Golf Association
    Senior Stroke Play Championship
    July 14-15
    The Trails Golf Club
    Final Results

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-AF Will Conant kicker.jpg Air Force kicker Conant named to Groza Award watch list

    Air Force senior Will Conant, an Edmond Memorial graduate, is one of 30 players nationwide to be named to the 2014 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award watch list, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
    Conant hit 32-of-33 PATs and 11-of-13 field-goal attempts last season. He ranked third in the conference in field-goal percentage with an 84.6 mark that is the fourth-best in school history and best since Joey Ashcroft hit 88.8 percent (16-18) in 2002.
    Conant is one of two kickers in Air Force history to hit three times from 50-plus yards in a season. He hit three 52-yard kicks last season (versus Colgate, San Diego State, New Mexico), matching Ryan Harrison’s three 50-plus field goals in 2007. Conant’s three 50-plus field goals already rank him third in school history in career 50-yard field goals.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-OC Rhein Gibson British Open.jpg OC alum Gibson holes pressure putt on 18, makes cut at British Open

    It was the biggest putt of Rhein Gibson’s life — which is saying something for a guy who once shot a world-record 55 — and the Oklahoma Christian alum and Edmond resident responded the way he has so many times before.
    A four-time NAIA All-American while at Oklahoma Christian University, Gibson made the 15-footer for a birdie on No. 18 as darkness descended at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, capping a 2-over-par 74 and allowing him to make the cut in the world’s most prestigious tournament.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-Senior Open Josh Cook hands on hips.jpg ‘Cook’-ing up a championship golf course

    When the practice rounds began at the U.S. Senior Open July 7, the ramblings were almost non-stop.
    From the players who live at the course to professional golfers from across the ocean and diverse parts of the globe, the consensus was that Oak Tree National was in tremendous shape and the players were keyed up to compete on it.
    “The golf course is fantastic,” Oak Tree resident Bob Tway said on the first day of competition July 10. “It’s hard, but it’s fantastic.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: James bears the weight of Cleveland's championship dreams

    Can LeBron James change Cleveland sports history? Overcoming this city's tortured curse could prove impossible - even for the world's best basketball player.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo