They call themselves the multis.
For months, they train to run faster, jump higher and leap over obstacles all in the name of Belmont track and field.
Tyler Newkirk, Vinny Maniscalco and Sarah Wrieden all compete in multiple events at track meets, hence the nickname.
Newkirk, a senior music business and entrepreneurship major, and Maniscalco, a sophomore music business major compete in decathlon, while Wrieden’s speciality is heptathlon.
“The variety is what keeps me interested,” said Newkirk. “It’s been tough, a lot more hours, just because of all the events you have to learn, but it’s been worth it for me.”
As decathletes, Newkirk and Maniscalco compete in 10 events during the two-day track meets.
“The 10 events are the 100 meter dash, 110 meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault, and then discus, javelin, shot put and a 1500 meter run,” said Maniscalco. “Oh, and a 400 meter dash.”
Wrieden, who is the team captain on the women’s side, is a heptathlete this season, competing in seven events, including the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin and the 800 meter run.
To compete in so many events, the runners train five days a week during the season. Each day of the week, the multis do different workouts, which emphasize a specific event, said Wrieden, a senior exercise science major.
Since the intense training and multiple events can take a toll on the athletes, the multis only compete in the decathlon or heptathlon once or twice in a season.
For all three athletes, becoming a multi has not been an easy task.
“It definitely makes you work hard, and it keeps you open minded,” said Maniscalco. “You compete in so many different events, so you have to learn a lot of different skills. It can be frustrating at times. You have to work hard at it. It’s not just something you learn overnight.”
In the beginning, multis have to spend considerable amount of time learning events they have never competed in, forcing them out of their comfort zone.
“We joke a lot of times that as multis you just kind of have to have this reckless attitude,” said Newkirk. “Like, you know what, I have no idea what’s going to happen when I do this, but you just have to do it.”
Before competing in the heptathlon or decathlon, Newkirk and Manisculo both competed in open events.
“That first year when you go to track meets, and you don’t do the decathlon, you do open events, like if we’re long jumping and high jumping at a meet, we do it with people who only do those events. So they’re really good at it, and we aren’t,” said Newkirk. “It’s a big ego check. You have to really humble yourself. You have to realize that this is part of the learning process and not be embarrassed about it.”
The frustration of learning all the new events has been worth it for these athletes though.
“It definitely helped me find myself,” said Wrieden. “Because with the pentathlon, say you mess up the first event, you still have four more events, so you really have to just be able to put that out of your head and re-focus. I found myself in the fact that I discovered how mentally strong I am.”
These multi athletes not only have to work hard to train and compete, but also to balance their life with being a student at Belmont.
“Balancing both is a challenge at times,” said Newkirk, who just launched his own business this semester. “You have to learn pretty early on how to manage your time, to make it all happen and work.” Despite the difficulty of balancing so many events with time in the classroom, the reward and sense of accomplishment is worth it to them, especially if that reward is beating your good friend and teammate.
“It’s good friendly competition,” said Maniscalco. “We go back and forth with the wins.”
The friendly competition also extends to the multis on other teams.
“You’re the only ones that go through that,” said Newkirk. “There really is a brotherhood almost by the end of the two days. It’s definitely competitive, but it’s good spirited, and that’s something I think is pretty unique to just multis as far as track goes.”