Carrillo grad looking to complete comeback at U.S. championships

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Maria Carrillo graduate Jake Arnold won a national championship in the decathlon at Des Moines, Iowa, the site of this weekend's world championships.

Maria Carrillo graduate Jake Arnold won a national championship in the decathlon at Des Moines, Iowa, the site of this weekend’s world championships.

Toeing the line for the first event in the decathlon today, Jake Arnold wants the good times to roll again at the U.S. championships.

Arnold is back competing among the nation’s top decathletes having pushed through injuries to keep his professional track career alive.

The landmark track at Drake University would be a fitting venue to complete his comeback.

Arnold won the national championship in Des Moines, Iowa, three years ago.

“I’m feeling as good as I have. I’m all healthy now and ready for this meet,” said Arnold, an All-Empire great from Maria Carrillo.

Featuring four running and six field events over two days, the decathlon is considered a competition among the world’s greatest athletes.

Leading the field at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee — the 2012 Summer Olympics gold and silver medalists.

Arnold is not a favorite after posting a score well down the list of qualifiers to make the meet.

Still, he is confident of competing for a Team USA spot at the world championships.

“It’s been tough. But I hope to represent the U.S. again at the worlds,” Arnold said.

The first serious injuries for the former national champion and two-time NCAA titlist led to a disappointing finish at the Olympic trials a year ago.

Recognizing he came back too soon following back and hip surgeries, Arnold rested for several months before resuming training full time last fall.

The goal was to go strong into the indoor track and field season and make the U.S. team at this week’s national championships.

A fourth place at the USA Indoor Championships in March signaled Arnold was returning to form.

But then a recurring spate of back spasms forced Arnold to miss a major European meet in May.

Competing in a Dallas meet earlier this month, Arnold earned the qualifying score for nationals.

“I’ve just been working on getting healthy,” Arnold said. “When you’re trying to keep your career alive you have to make these big meets.”

Returning to Des Moines helps the healing. Arnold set the Drake stadium decathlon record in winning the national title in 2010.

Returning to the world championships would feel even better. Arnold competed in the 2009 and 2007 worlds.

“Now I have to just go out and do my best and try to make it to Moscow,” Arnold said.

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