He did it in style, too. In third place with two events to go, Felix had the javelin (one of his best events) and the 1,500-meter run (one of his worst events) remaining. Kurt threw the spear 227-feet, 6-inches to earn 880 points in that event and take the lead by 147 points over Florida State's Gonzalo Barroilhet. Felix had accumulated 7,400 points after nine events to 7,253 for Barroilhet, 7,233 for Romaine Martin of Texas-Arlington, 7,219 for Kevin Lazas of Arkansas and 7,150 for Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas.
It came down to the 1,500, a monster of an event in any circumstances, but downright harrowing if it's the 10th event in two days against the best collegiate athletes in the United States. Felix ran the distance in 5:15 at the Mountain West Championships, and would have finished third at the NCAA's with that time.
Kurt was too close to the championship for that, however. He let it fly, and completed the distance in 4:42, just seven seconds shy of his personal best. No one in the nation could do well enough to overcome Kurt's decathlon lead, and the Bronco from Grenada captured Boise State's sixth individual track & field championship.
Felix opened the competition by finishing second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.90 seconds. That earned the Bronco senior 883 points. Lazas was 10th in the event with a time of 11.05 for 850 points. Felix then won the long jump competition by leaping 24-3 1/2 to get 910 points. Lazas was second with a mark of 24-0 3/4 for 893 points.
The shot put was next, not one of Kurt's strengths, but he did manage to place 12th with a heave of 42-11 for 672 points. Lazas gained some ground here with a shot put of 46-2 3/4 for 734 points. On to the fourth event, the high jump, where Kurt cleared 6-8 3/4 for 850 points. Lazas was right behind with 6-6 3/4 for 794 points. The decathlon standings after four events:
1. Kurt Felix, Boise State 3,315
2. Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 3,312
3. Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 3,271
4. Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 3,255
5. Nick Huber, Cornell 3,163
The final event of the first day was the 400, and Kurt finished off Day One by finishing 7th with a time of 58.77 for 872 points. Lazas was behind Kurt with 51.34 seconds and 754 points. Felix had the lead after five tough events, but he'd been here before. He was leading the nation in the multi-event heptathlon after five events when he was unable to clear a height in the pole vault. And he'd have to conquer that demon on Day Two if he had any hope of being near the top of the nation's best decathletes. Here were the standings after the first day:
1. Kurt Felix, Boise State 4,187 points
2. Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 4,177
3. Nick Huber, Cornell 4,065
4. Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 4,053
5. Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 4,025
5. Isaac Murphy, Texas 4,025
It was evident that Kurt had been training hard, for he had bettered his marks at the Mountain West Championships in several events. But was it good enough to be the best in the nation? All Bronco eyes were on Kurt in Des Moines as he competed to realize his dream: a national championship.
The first event of the day on Thursday was the 110-meter hurdles. Felix placed 11th with a time of 15.01 for a solid 848 points, while Lazas finished in 15.12 for 835 points. Felix had a 175-point lead on the eventual runner-up. But Gunnar Nixon of Arkansas was making a charge and now took over the lead:
1. Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 5,087
2. Kurt Felix, Boise State 5,035
3. Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 4,959
4. Nick Huber, Cornell 4,939
5. Isaac Murphy, Texas 4,916
6. Terry Prentice, Arkansas 4,906
7. Japheth Cato, Wisconsin 4,873
8. Romaine Martin, Texas-Arlington 4,872
9. Gonzalo Barroilhet, Florida State 4,864
10. Kevin Lazas, Arkansas 4,860
Competition moved to the discus, where Felix took sixth with a toss of 136-2 for 695 points. Lazas finished the discus with a best of 133-6 for 679 points and Nixon slipped a bit here with a throw of 119-8 for 593 points. Felix's discus throw was good enough to take the lead back after seven events:
1. Kurt Felix, Boise State 5,730
2. Bjorn Barrefors, Nebraska 5,686
3. Gunnar Nixon, Arkansas 5,680
4. Nick Huber, Cornell 5,621
5. Romaine Martin, Texas-Arlington 5,552
It was now time to deal with that pole vault demon. Kurt easily cleared his first height and several others after that. When he was done, he finished with a height of 15-1, a very respectable 790 points. At that moment, Felix had conquered that bad memory and had to begin thinking he had a shot. Lazas made a strong move in the vault with a great mark of 16-8 3/4 for 941 points.
Although Felix slipped to third in the decathlon standings, he knew he was within range. Kurt won the javelin, then slammed the door on the competition with his excellent finish in the 1,500.
Felix finished with 8,062 points to beat Romain Martin of UT-Arlington, who had 7,956. Lazas finished third with 7,955.
Boise State has had a pretty storied history in track and field. Jake Jacoby won the NCAA high jump title in 1984, Eugene Green won the triple jump national title in 1991, Jerred Rome won the 2011 USA national discus championship, Gabe Wallin won two NCAA titles in the javelin (2004 and 2005), Eleni Kafourou won the women's long jump championship in 2010, and now add the smiling Kurt Felix to that list.
Way to go Kurt--all of Bronco Nation is proud of you!