WICHITA, Kan. - University of Northern Iowa junior Daniel Gooris made a bit of history at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, becoming just the fourth man in league history to win three decathlon titles. Gooris totaled 7,608 points to top the rest of the field by a remarkable 521 points.
Only Jim Jones (West Texas State - 1980, '82-83), Paul Speer (Wichita State - 2002, '04-05) and Raven Cepeda (UNI - 2006-08) had won three Valley championships in the decathlon prior to Gooris joining the club this weekend.
Gooris' point total was the fourth-highest score ever by an MVC champion. The top four scores all-time at the MVC Championships now belong to UNI, with Cepeda and Mat Clark sharing the top three spots.
As usual, Gooris used a strong second-day performance to distance himself from the rest of the field. He posted the top marks in the discus (135-01) and the pole vault (17-00.75), the second-best 110m hurdles time (15.26 seconds), and the third-best performances in the javelin (178-08) and 1500m (4:35.47).
Freshman Paige Knodle was just as impressive in the heptathlon, tallying a personal-best 5,392 points for a runner-up finish. Knodle's score ranks her at No. 22 on the current national performance list, and it improves her mark that already had her at No. 3 on UNI's all-time list.
Knodle opened Saturday by matching her personal best in the long jump with a mark of 17-11.00 (5.46m), but she made her biggest splash in the javelin. She threw 136-10 (41.71m) - a distance that puts her at No. 5 on the school's all-time list in the event. Knodle concluded heptathlon competition by pulling away in the 800m, finishing in 2:14.61 to top the rest of the field by more than five seconds.
Sophomore Ben Lindaman earned a seventh-place finish in the decathlon with 6,496 points. Lindaman cleared a personal-best 14-01.25 (4.30m) in the pole vault and posted the top javelin throw of the day at 185-08 (56.59m). Junior Tyler Clark used a huge javelin personal best of 166-04 (50.71m) to score a lifetime-best 6,335 points for ninth place.
Check back at UNIPanthers.com for more results from Saturday's action at Cessna Stadium.