By Shawn McFarland
For Brad Deckel, the post-soccer offseason was short. The sophomore started in 18 of Springfield College’s men’s soccer team’s 20 games. Along with the Pride (18-2-1), Deckel played all the way through November, in the NEWMAC Championship and then into the first round of the NCAA tournament.
But after the Pride were bounced from the national tournament by Tufts on Nov. 12, Deckel didn’t see the same kind of rest in his future like his teammates may have. He turned his attention to track and field – specifically the pole vault.
On Saturday at the Maroon and White Classic, Deckel looked anything but tired from his soccer season, as he broke a 45-year old record in the pole vault with a jump of 14 feet, 11 inches.
“I want to compete and work hard whether that is in track or soccer. I like to give my best effort,” Deckel said. “So it doesn’t really matter to me if I am doing a track workout or doing an offseason soccer workout, the mind set never changes. I want to improve everyday.”
The previous record (14 feet, 6 inches) was set in 1972 by Roland Praech. Deckel added that heading into Saturday, the record was on his mind.
“Going into the meet I had a feeling that I could break the record,” he said. “I had been trying to break it for the previous two meets but didn’t quite put the right jump together to do it. I knew I had it in me and it all came together Saturday for a nice jump.”
Pole vaulting has been in Deckel’s repertoire since he was a ninth grader at North Penn High School in Landsale, Penn. To him, it looked to be the most fun out of all the events – and it gave him an excuse to not run distance.
As a dual-athlete, Deckel remarked that health is always a worry. While most Springfield College athletes are in season for just one-third of the school year, Deckel is for more than half of it. For him, stretching, focusing on the health of his muscles and recovery have been keys to his early success.
“Coach Siebert [men’s soccer head coach] has been tremendously supportive of me doing track, and coach Alex [Rechen] has been very understanding as well. Also, the lifting coaches have been tremendously helpful with extra workouts to let stay on top of both sports.”
Deckel wasn’t the only member of the Pride’s men’s team to take home an individual award. Junior high-jumper Jason Laramee cleared the bar at 6 feet, 6.25 inches to take first in his event. Freshman Hunter DuPont finished second in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.72 seconds.
On the women’s side, four members of the Pride picked up first place finishes. Senior Carly Markos took first in the shot put (40 feet, 2.25 inches) and the weight throw (54 feet, 1.75 inches).
Junior Courtney Luscier raced out to a win in the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.92 seconds, while Sarah Skillin took first in the 800 meter run (2:27.05) as well.
The Pride will hit the track next on Jan. 28 at the Massasoit Meet.
Shawn can be reached on Twitter at @McFarland_Shawn