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Martin breaks school record in the heptathlon

Chaney Martin broke the Oklahoma Christian University school record for the heptathlon at the Washburn Open in Topeka, Kansas. Martin scored 4,939 points, breaking the previous record of 4,783 points set by Austin Wallace in 2014.

“It was fun,” Martin said. “Austin Wallace is actually one of my coaches, so I’m sure it was a little bittersweet for him.”

The heptathlon is a seven-event competition spanning two days. Day one consists of the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump. Day two follows with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and the 1,000-meter race. The point system compares competitors’ performances to a baseline in each event, and then awards points accordingly

A sophomore from West Plains, Missouri Martin was recruited to Oklahoma Christian by Head Track and Field Coach, Wade Miller, for multi-events like the heptathlon and decathlon. Martin specialized in pole vault and hurdles in high school, and his best events are now the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and pole vault.

Competing in an event over two days is a challenge both mentally and physically. In the days before the event, Martin said he takes it easy in practice, instilling mental confidence for his jumps. Once the competition begins, it is a challenge to stay focused and conditioned for as long as Martin needs to be. Martin said former coach Jeff Bennett, holder of the Oklahoma Christian school decathlon record and 1972 Olympian, gave him advice on how to traverse multi-events.

“Once the first event starts and finishes, whatever the outcome is, forget it because you have six more to do,” Martin said.

The time between day one and two is crucial for Martin to recover and prepare for the next day.

“Probably the most underlooked part of a multi is the four to eight-hour period after day one; it’s nothing like I’ve ever done in sports,” Martin said. “If you don’t drink a half gallon of water or a liter of pedialyte, you are not going to be ready for the next day.”

Martin said breaking the school record was a great experience and a goal he had in mind, but not his primary goal.

“It was awesome to break a record and be in the record books, but it definitely is not my ending goal,” Martin said. “My ultimate goal is 5,000 points.”

The Eagles placed sixth overall at the Washburn Open. In addition to Martin’s performance, Dylan Burrows took first place in the 800-meter run, and the 4×400 team, with Burrows, Coby Trevino, Camden Miller and Keionte Williamson, took third. 

Williamson, Martin, Jelte van Atten, Austin McNair, Owen Pearce and Colton Meyers all posted career bests in their respective events.

The Eagles will finish their indoor season at the Indoor Gorilla Classic in Pittsburgh, Kansas, on Feb. 11-12. Athletes will compete to qualify for the Lone Star Conference Championships meet on Feb. 25-26 and possibly the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in March.

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