BW Decathlete Steve Price Takes a Road Less Traveled to Success; Competes in Final NCAA Meet Today
the second straight year at the NCAA
Division III National Meet.
By: Jeremy Lassiter, Baldwin Wallace University
BEREA, OHIO -- Baldwin Wallace University senior decathlete Steve Price has always been an individual who was open to new experiences. Whether it was trying to play soccer for the first time, or moving positions on the football team, Price has always wanted to do what was best to benefit his team and everyone around him.
“I was a bit apprehensive about competing in the decathlon," said Price, who placed fifth in both the high jump and shot put, seventh in the 400 meter dash and 10th in both the 100 meters and long jump. Today, he will compete in the javelin, pole vault, 110 high hurdles, discus and 1500 meters. "At the time, all I knew about the decathlon was that it involved 10 events. I was comfortable in competing in 100 meter dash and the long jump, two events where I have had some success. The decathlon would force me focus my attention on multiple aspects of my game”
At the end of day, Price’s competitive drive got the best of him. He agreed to compete in the decathlon despite having no experience in this event. This decision has thus proved to have been the right one. In Price’s junior year, he reached the provisional mark which allowed him advance to the 2009 NCAA Nationals Meet. Steve finished 12th at last year's NCAA Division III National Championships. Steady improvements and a fiery competitive streak have helped Price to attained an automatic bid this year's meet.
“The biggest difference between now and then is my decathlon mentality," said Price, who also played three years on the Yellow Jacket football team as a wide receiver and kick return specialist. "In the past I always wanted to win every event. When you train for a decathlon that won’t always happen. That was a concept I had a hard time understanding my first couple of years. When I hit the mark last year to provisionally qualify for the national meet it was huge for me because I finally realized that to make gains in the events I needed to, I have to sacrifice my marks in other events.”
Current BW Assistant Coach Eric Schmuhl has worked with Price the past two years is taken aback by the strides he has made.
“Steve has enjoyed significant progress throughout his four years in training for the decathlon," said Schmuhl, who also was a standout track and field student-athlete at the College. "He came to BW a sprinter and long jumper which is certainly not how most prospective decathletes arrive in college track. Most will at least have vaulting experience and a high hurdle mark but Steve was definitely a rarity.
An athlete with Price’s athletic capabilities will always set the bar high when accomplishing goals. He is very ambitious and feels that his training efforts have allowed him to set the BW record in the decathlon and reach Division III’s ultimate stage for the second straight year.
“I am proud to hold BW’s record in the decathlon and I would like to finish in the top 3 in the country in this event at the 2010 NCAA Track Championships here at Baldwin Wallace," said Price a few weeks ago. "I am never satisfied and realize that I cannot become complacent in my routine”.
As hard as Price has worked on improving his performance on the track, it is others who have noticed his improvements in leadership of the BW track team. High school and college teammate Kareem Ibrahim is encouraged by Price’s growth.
“The change in Steve has been immense," said Ibrahim, also a decathlete in track and wide receiver in football. "He used to be the kid who was just there having fun and cracking jokes. He has now turned into a man who is really focused and looks to help others. It’s funny, Steve sometimes gets into trouble for trying to help younger teammates more than practicing on his own events”.
BW Track Coach Eric Schumul can attest to Price’s leadership ability.
“Steve is a fantastic leader when the situation calls for it," said Schmuhl. "He has it in himself to step up and be a very effective verbal leader and it shines through every so often, particularly in competition”.
Price credits the as a major influence in transforming him into who he is today.
As the future approaches, The exercise science and biology double major has the professional goal of becoming physical therapist as well as a track coach.
“I would like to go to grad school," said Schmuhl. "I have to enroll in a couple more classes. I plan to volunteer coach here next year as well as compete in a couple more decathlons because most combined event athletes don’t reach their peak until after eight years of competing. Since I won’t have eight years, I want to get at least one more year in. After that I want to become a coach in track and field. I also plan to pursue a career in the physical therapy field because either way I’ll get to do what I love and that’s help people”.
Steve Price’s openness to new experiences coupled with his leadership ability will only guarantee that he will achieve all goals set before him. Today, he will try to reach the ultimate goal as an NCAA Division III All-American in the decathlon at the National Championship Meet.