Derscheid having success in decathlon

EVART – It hasn’t taken long for Travis Derscheid to master the decathlon on the collegiate track and field level.

The 2008 Evart graduate, a track and field athlete at Siena Heights University in Adrian, placed second in the Gina Relays decathlon at Hillsdale College. That performance is expected to qualify him for the NAIA nationals May 24-25 at Indiana Wesleyan.

Derscheid academically is a senior but has one year remaining of athletic ability.

He attended Siena Heights after graduating from Evart. He was recruited to be a pole vaulter.

The decathlon is a two-day event. Individual events include the 100-meter dash, the long jump, shot put and high jump, plus the 400-meter dash the first day. The next day, decathloners run the 110-meter hurdlers, the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.

“This is my first year doing the decathlon,” said Derscheid, who had previously focused on the pole vault. “There’s an indoor version of the heptathlon. During the middle of that, in the pole vault, I tore my hamstring.”

His dad was an All-American in the event and Derscheid decided to follow in his footsteps.

“He definitely is there for my moral support,” Derscheid said. “At certain meets they have decathlons.”’

When he ran track at Evart, Derscheid set the school record with an effort of 14 feet.

At Siena Heights, his best events separately have been the javelin, pole vault and hurdles.

“My favorite event is probably still the pole vault,” he said. “It’s the most technical, it’s the hardest to perfect. When you do it right, it’s a lot of fun. I love the hurdles too.”

Derscheid first picked up a pole when he was about a 10-year-old athlete. His highest vault is 15-7 at the college level at Grand Valley State during the last indoor meet of 2011.

If he goes to the nationals, Derscheid, after examining all of his records, sees it as a realistic goal that he could win the NAIA decathlon title.

Track and field at the school, “is a pretty good program,” Derscheid said. “We won (Wolverine Hoosier Athletic) conference five years in a row.”