For the first time in the 2014 Oregon track and field outdoor season, junior All-American Dakotah Keys competed in a decathlon, winning at the Oregon Relays.
Not only did Keys win the event, his final point total of 8,027 was a personal record as well as a tie for the fourth highest score in Oregon history.
“Entering the day, it was on my mind,” Keys said of the record. “Talking to my wife this morning, I told her I was a little nervous and she said, ‘just go in there like you did the first day, no expectations’.”
Everything came down to the final event of the decathlon, the 1,500, where Keys needed a time of 4:28 or better.
“Every time I do this it comes down to the wire,” Keys said.
Thanks to an impressive kick down the final straight away and some pacing help from his teammates, Keys was able to finish the 1,500 with a final time of 4:24.21. That time was good enough for a personal record in the event.
Of the ten events through two days, Keys finished first in eight of them.
Keys was supposed to compete in a decathlon at the Aztec Invitational, though because of its proximity to the Indoor National Championships, he decided to wait.
“I was still beat up, so we just figured it was better to get healthy,” Keys said.
Making his debut at Historic Hayward Field had the added bonus of getting to compete in front of the Oregon faithful. In attendance were family and friends who traveled to Eugene to watch Keys compete.
“Every time I started to doubt myself, that’s when I heard the fans,” Keys said. “There is nothing like it, I love it here.”
Keys jumped out to an early lead on day one with a midway score of 4,110 points. He looked impressive in both the long jump and shot put, two events that he was able to set new personal records in. He jumped 7.45 meters in the long jump and threw for 13.65 meters in the shot put.
“Shot has been going great; I have been having some great throws in practice,” Keys said of his performance. “I just freed my mind and said ‘ok, I’m the only one here,’ and it just kind of happened.”
Day two his success continued with a sweep of the events as Keys was able to win all five to close out the meet.
The only event at the meet that Keys was disappointed with was his result in the 400 meters, which was the final event of the first day.
“I was just a little tired,” Keys said. “That comes with the territory of the first one, so I am not worried.”
Looking ahead, Keys plans to take advantage of the three weeks before the Pac-12 Championships, using the break to train and avoid injuries.
Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur