Entering the final event of the decathlon on the first day at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Myers Stadium on the Texas campus, Texas’ Leo Neugebauer trailed Georgia’s Kyle Garland.
In the 400-meter event of the decathlon, Neugebauer was simply looking to break 48 seconds. However, 47.08 seconds later, he had not only stolen the lead from his rival but had recorded his third personal best of the day.
That’s right. His third.
The Longhorn also recorded a personal best in the 100 after running a 10.61 while also leaping 25-2 ½ in the long jump for an outdoor personal best.
To cap it off, the senior also matched his season best in the high jump which meant he also had a Day 1 overall PR of 4,591 points to Garland’s 4,570. The final five events will be held on Thursday, beginning with the 110 hurdles at noon and concluding with the 1,500 at 9:56 p.m.
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“Finally seeing what I get from all this practice is just so exhilarating,” Neugebauer said.
He started strong, winning the 100 by running a 10.61 to Garland’s 10.63. However, the Bulldog finished second in the long jump (7.72 meters) and first in the shot put (16.27 meters,) beating Neugebauer by one spot in both events. They proceeded to tie for first in the high jump by clearing 6-8 ¼, leaving Garland with a slim lead.
It was not a surprise to see the two neck and neck considering their history. After losing to Garland at the 2023 indoor championships, the UT athlete knew he had to step his game up.
“It’s always been back-and-forth. This year at indoors he was out of this world, almost breaking the world records,” Neugebauer said. “I wasn’t close to that so I was like…I have some work to do.”
After Garland finished with a 47.78 in the 400 , he saw his opportunity to step up. As he turned the final corner, the Longhorns heard the cheer of the crowd, saying that they “carried me over the track.”
For Neugebauer, running at home gives him renewed energy.
“The feeling, the energy here is so high especially for me as a Texas athlete,” he said.
The championship is far from finished. Though the Texas men overall underwhelmed, both Yusuf Bizimana and Crayton Carroza qualified for the 800 finals. Neugebauer also only holds a 21-point lead in the decathlon, with Garland just behind him. Nebraska’s Till Steinforth and Iowa’s Austin West occupy the third and fourth slots and anything could happen.
After Day 1 though, Neugebauer claims that he’s never felt better.
“Right now, I’m in the best shape of my life.”