Every four years the winner of the decathlon in the Olympics is billed as the “World’s Greatest Athlete”. Using those criteria, Troy Mattingly would have to be considered as the greatest athlete at St. Catharine College.
Mattingly, a sophomore from Louisville DeSales High School, laid claim to that title with a solid performance in the decathlon at last week’s Mid-South Conference meet at Shorter University in Rome, Ga. Mattingly qualified for the NAIA national meet in the decathlon by scoring 4892 points in the ten events.
That placed him sixth at the conference meet and also qualified him for the national NAIA meet at Indiana Wesleyan – perhaps. “To qualify for nationals you must score at least 4500 points,” explained St. Catharine coach Blake Jones. “But I understand that only the top 16 who scored over 4500 points get into the national field. But if some of them decide not to go, Troy has a chance to get in.”
It will be sometime in May before Mattingly finds out if he gets to participate in the national meet. But even if he doesn’t get to that meet, it will not detract from his school record performance last week at Shorter.
“This was his first meet where he participated in the decathlon,” added Jones. "He has a lot of room for improvement so he has a good future in the event. He did not do as well in the 100 meter or the long jump as he expected.”
Still, Mattingly placed in the top ten in all but one of the ten events (he placed 11th in the 100). He won the pole vault and the long jump and was second in the 1500 meter run.
For his sixth place decathlon finish, Mattingly earned three points. He also tied for sixth in the individual pole vault for another 2.5 points. Travis Wilkins received two points for finishing seventh in the long jump.
The Patriots finished last in the ten team conference field but that wasn’t a complete disappointment for Jones. “Many of our performances were better than last year (which was Jones’ first year as coach) but the conference was a lot stronger.”
Symfonee Henderson was the only Patriot to score points in the women’s meet. The junior from Nashville, Tenn. earned two points for a seventh place finish in the high jump.
Shorter easily won both the men’s and women’s meets.