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Men’s Track and Field: Schneider looks to leave lasting legacy

Jack Hefferon | Thursday, January 27, 2011

Watching senior multi-event athlete Justin Schneider compete makes winning the heptathlon look deceptively easy, even if victory requires running, jumping, throwing and hurdling all in the span of two jam-packed days.

Last week, Schneider did just that at the Bob Eubanks Open in Allendale, Mich., winning six of the seven heptathlon events and breaking his own school record with 5,497 points. That performance earned him Big East Athlete of the Week honors, and has him ranked as the best collegiate multi-eventer in the country. And despite how it may appear, the senior knows that this success is the result of practice and patience.

“Everything that’s happened so far this season is a product of my first three years here,” Schneider said. “It’s all about being consistent through all of your events, and there are lots of mental challenges that come with that. It requires a lot of preparation and confidence, and that’s something that takes time to learn.”

Even with a No. 1 ranking, Big East championships and school records under his belt already,

Schneider feels that he still has areas he has to improve in.

“I’m really trying to focus on the throws: shot put, discus, and javelin. They’re my most inconsistent events,” he said. “The only one we throw indoor is shot put, so that’s what I’ve really been focusing on this season.”

With a focus on shot put, and with several other events to practice for, it’s not unusual for Schneider and his fellow multi-eventers to put in four practices a day. This kind of dedication creates a unique bond.

“A huge part of training has been being part of a team,” Schneider said. “It’s very difficult to balance athletics with academics and a social life, but it’s nice to know you’re not alone. Track may seem like an individual sport, but we’re committed to this team and each other.”

Both Schneider and the team have started off the season strong, and both look poised to repeat as indoor Big East champions in a few weeks. In addition to team and individual league titles, Schneider hopes to finish the season by breaking more records and earning All-American honors in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

As for his plans after graduation this May, the only thing more versatile than Schneider’s athleticism might be his future.

“My mom was born in Seoul, so I have an opportunity to compete for Korea at the 2012 Olympics in London,” he said. “If that doesn’t work out, I have a job offer at New Balance to design performance shoes. I’m just going to keep my options open, and see what opportunities come up.”