Is K’Vonte Scott the best male track and field athlete to ever don a Charlotte 49ers uniform?
If you score by Scott’s performance in the decathlon, then the senior from Virginia Beach, Va, is at the top of the list.
This outdoor season, Scott broke his own school record twice, first at the Tennessee Relays in April and then at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships on May 14-17.
His C-USA score of 7,549 points is the school record and was enough to qualify him for the NCAA Outdoor Championships on June 10-13 in Eugene, Ore. He is the first UNC Charlotte decathlete to qualify for the NCAA championships.
Scott, the 2014 decathlon champion at the C-USA Outdoor meet, finished second this year to Rice’s Scott Filip. Entering the NCAA meet, Scott is ranked 11th nationally, while Filip is ninth.
Middle Tennessee State’s Atsu Nyamadi is ranked 13th, giving C-USA three representatives among the 24 athletes who qualified nationally. The only conferences with more representation in the decathlon are the Pac-12 (eight) and SEC (six).
A participant at the 2012 USA Junior Outdoor Championships while a student at East Tennessee State, Scott says the NCAA championships will be his biggest meet ever.
“I just want to go out and have fun,” Scott said. “If I score big, I score big. That would be phenomenal. As long as I’m having fun when I’m doing it, it will be the best part. If I’m not having fun, I don’t perform well.”
Charlotte head coach Bob Olesen said he likes Scott’s chances.
“He has a lot of momentum going into the national championships,” Olesen said.
“There are some decathletes who are super good at a couple (events). K’Vonte is really pretty good in everything.”
Of the decathlon’s 10 individual events, the 400 meters, discus, long jump and pole vault are Scott’s best.
In high school, Scott was a standout hurdler and volleyball player.
Entering the 2014-15 season, Scott’s second year at Charlotte after transferring, he said he was mostly focused on improving in two events. In the pole vault, it was a matter of finding a pole with the right fit. In the hurdles, Scott felt his improvement would be determined by how many repetitions he got at practice and at meets.
At the C-USA Indoor Championships in February at Birmingham, Ala., the heptathlon’s events were held on a single day as opposed to the usual two-day format. Scott finished as runner-up.
Because events like the heptathlon and decathlon take so much out of an athlete, Scott skipped the decathlon at the 49er Classic, Charlotte’s host event, Mar. 19-21; instead, he waited a couple more weeks to participate in the Tennessee Relays in Knoxville.
“You really have to be on point to get it done in that two-day period,” Olesen said. “You can be the best athlete in the country, and if you go to a meet and it’s cold and rainy, it’s hard to put together a performance. When you go to another meet, something may happen there.
“You may have one bad event and you’re out of luck. A lot has to go right.”
Between the Tennessee Relays and the C-USA Outdoor Championships, Scott competed in individual events at meets to prepare himself.
At the C-USA meet, Scott finished runner-up in the decathlon events: shot put, pole vault and 1,500 meters. He placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and javelin.
Redshirt junior triple-jumper Anthony Campbell is the only other 49er competing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Unlike Scott in the decathlon – an event not held at NCAA regionals – Campbell had to qualify for nationals by finishing in the top 12 at the NCAA East region in Jacksonville, Fla. Campbell jumped 15.60 meters to claim the 12th spot.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.