Something About Schmidt: Dedicated decathlete Shawn Schmidt taking Track and Field records to new heights

by dentonramsey

Something About Schmidt: Dedicated decathlete Shawn Schmidt taking Track and Field records to new heights


 
 

For St. Mark’s graduate Shawn Schmidt, making the jump from high school Track and Field to the NCAA ranks with the University of Texas Longhorns shouldn’t be too difficult.

On Friday, July 21 Schmidt was officially selected by the USA Track and Field to represent Team USA at the 2006 IAFF World Junior Championships scheduled for August 15-20 in Beijing, China.

According to Schmidt’s St. Mark’s Track and Field Coach, John Turek, Shawn will be competing at the World Junior Championships on August 16 and 17.

“Shawn’s accomplishments this summer are a culmination of four years of extreme dedication to the sport of Track and Field,” Turek said. “Our chance meeting is well documented but his development from an awkward freshman to the best High School Decathlete in the United States is a story of trials and tribulations, of physical setbacks and, finally, great accomplishments.”

Schmidt’s selection to the Team USA roster was nothing more than a formality after Shawn captured first place in the Decathlon at the 2006 USATF Junior National Track and Field Championships.

“Shawn is currently ranked first in the US and 11th in the world for junior level athletes (under 20) in the Decathlon,” Turek said. “Obviously, this will be the biggest stage that Shawn has ever competed on but his goals are still the same. To compete against the best and do the best he can. I don’t know if all the athletes that are ranked higher than him will be in Beijing but he has the ability to place in the top 10 and maybe top five depending on how he performs.”

Schmidt scored 7,264 points during the championship while competing against 20 athletes, including eight college freshmen, on his was to a new National High School Record.

“His results from the USATF Junior Decathlon Competition were not surprising because 2 1/2 weeks earlier he scored 7197 at the TEXAS GREATEST ATHLETE Meet held at St. Mark’s,” Turek said. “At the Junior Meet he had 7 decathlon PR’s (personal records) and just put together a good meet. The competition was much tougher and competing against college freshman added a twist.”

According to Coach Turek, Schmidt chose the UT Track and Field program due in a large part to feeling comfortable with the coach, Mario Sategna, the members of the team and the University.

“UT currently has two of the top collegiate decathletes in the country, Trey Hardee and Donovan Kilmartin,” Turek said. “Coach Sategna is an outstanding combined-events coach and is a former NCAA Champion in the Decathlon.

“We knew going into this summer and doing the decathlon that he was going to put up some big scores because his high school season was so successful. During the school year he competed in many events every week.

At our SPC Conference Meet he won the High Jump (6’ 8”), Long Jump (22’ 9 1/2”), 110 Hurdles (14.91), was second in the Discus (148’ 5”), third in the Shot Put (48’ 10 1/4”) and anchored the second place 4 x 400 Relay team.”

 
 

For Turek, coaching Shawn has been nothing short of a dream come true while working with an athlete so passionate and driven about the sport.

“Coaching Shawn has been incredible,” Turek said. “I have been coaching 26 years and he is the one of the few athletes in that time that has been as passionate as I am for the sport of Track and Field. It is that passion that makes our relationship so close and strong.

“We spend countless hours together training, watching video and just ‘talking track.’ There has been ‘chemistry’ between us since the very beginning. He has been a big part of my life and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I feel fortunate to have been able to coach Shawn and I don’t know when and if another athlete like him will come along again in my coaching career.”

So how will Schmidt fare at the NCAA ranks? After college?

“Shawn is going to have an immediate impact at the college level,” Turek said. “He possesses the tools (6’ 4” & 188 lbs), the mental toughness and the dedication to be very good. Certainly there will transition changes; new coach, new school, new teammates, new training regimen and new competition but I have no doubt he will adapt and succeed.

“It’s hard to predict where he will be in the coming years but be does possess the ingredients to become an Olympic level athlete. Most people don’t realize what goes into a statement like that so I say it with some hesitation.

“Shawn is a bright student and a very gifted athlete but a lot of things have to fall into place for him to achieve his dreams and goals.

“There will be many highs and lows along the way and ‘staying the course’ for another eight to 10 years takes a lot of dedication and support, not only from himself but those around him.”

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