Multi-event athletes are ‘a jack of all trades’

Multi-event athletes have both physical and mental endurance

Many people are familiar with the main events of track and field, but many are not familiar with multi-event athletes.

Multi-eventer athletes participate in two-day competitions consisting of ten events for men and seven for women. Men compete in decathlons that include the 100, 400 and 1500-meter run, the 110-meter hurdles and field events such as long jump, shot put, high jump, discus, pole vault and javelin. The women compete in heptathlons which include the 800 and 200-meter run, the 100-meter hurdles and high jump, shot put, long jump and javelin.

Concordia’s multi-event athletes have a great reputation and a strong history.

Coach Gerrick Larson and Coach Marvin Roeske started coaching together at Concordia in 1995.

Larson was a multi-event athlete, and Roeske’s high school coaching had him coaching every event by himself.

At that time, Concordia had athletes with great potential to become multi-event athletes. The combination of these factors created the opportunity for the start of a successful multi-event athlete program.

“(Concordia) has a top notch coaching staff with Lason and Roeske. They are both passionate about multi-events and driven to help their athletes succeed,” said Joe Schmidgall, 2002 Cobber alumnus.

Concordia is known in the conference for their quality multi-event athletes.

“We’ve had an unbroken strain of outstanding multi-eventers… for at least 20 years,” Roeske said.

It is not something that comes naturally to many athletes. It is also not something in which many athletes choose to participate.

The coaches like to look for the athletes who have the potential to become multi-event athletes. Coach Larson says he has persuaded many athletes to participate in multi-events. Many of these athletes have been very successful in doing so. One of these athletes is Anna Skow-Anderson, a sophomore at Concordia.

Skow-Anderson joined the track and field team as a high-jumper, but that changed as the coaches suggested she try out the heptathlon route.

Schmidgall was recruited to Concordia to do multi events in the fall of 1998. He was motivated to participate in the decathlon to earn more points for his team.

He tried this path his freshmen year and decided to focus only on jumping.

When his senior year came along, he decided to give it another try and had a very successful season participating in multi-events.

Participating in seven or ten events takes dedication, strategy and lots of practice.

“You have to be an all around athlete. You have to be coordinated, you have to be fast, you have to have endurance, you have to be strong; you have to have all those things… ” Larson said.

He uses the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” to describe the ultimate goal for multi- event athletes.

The coaches have a specific coaching strategy that they feel is unique from others in the conference. They strive to make their multi-event athletes well-rounded. They say it is better to place in every event, rather than excel in one or two and not place in any others.

Many athletes choose not to be multi-event athletes and only specialize in one event.

The few who decide to participate in multi-events accept a great challenge.

“It takes a lot of time because you have so many events to work on, and they are very technical events,” Skow-Anderson said.

Schmidgall agrees when he said, “You need to be a student of different techniques.”

Another challenge that multi-event athletes face is the long two-day meets full of events.

“To set your mind on completing ten events as best you can is a mental challenge and a physical challenge,” Schmidgall said.

Schmidgall remembers how supportive his teammates were throughout his Cobber career.

“The multi-eventers rallied around each other. We pushed each other and helped one another get better,” Schmidgall said.

Although it is challenging, as well as a big commitment, both Skow-Anderson and Schmidgall recall great memories with their teammates and have enjoyed being multi-event athletes.

The Cobber multi-event athletes start up their season on Feb. 1 with the Cobber Duals tournament.

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