Men’s track: Indoor season capped by Wasome’s national title in triple jump

Marcus Krum

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — O’Brien Wasome knew as soon as it happened.

The sophomore got up from his fifth attempt in the triple jump and jumped in the air, pumping his fist in exclamation. His jump was recorded at 6.82 meters, the longest collegiate jump this season. That was all he needed on Saturday to take home first place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I hit each phase and my body reacted the way I wanted,” Wasome said. “As soon as I hit, I was like, ‘Yes, I finally put a good one out there.’”

But Wasome put out more than just a “good” jump. In the attempt, he set the school record and became the first Longhorn to ever win the NCAA championship in the triple jump.

“I don’t even know how to explain (my emotions),” Wasome said. “When I saw (my distance), I was like, ‘Yes!’ I was just excited.”

Wasome has battled through injury this year. He hadn’t recorded a jump on par with his freshman year until the final meet of the season. Yet with his tenacious work ethic, Wasome willed his way to this national championship and put out the best jump of his career when he needed to.

“He is an incredibly motivated kid,” Texas assistant coach Zach Glavash said. “He knew his body this year. He knew when to take a step back and let himself recover. He’s really found his composure.”

Senior Alan Zapalac had his own moment of elation after seeing his score in the weight throw. On the final throw of his indoor career, Zapalac broke the school record by one inch, placing eighth in the competition.

“I still don’t believe it. In 2013, if you’d have asked me this, I would’ve said, ‘Hell no, I’m not going to do that. There’s no possible way,’” Zapalac said. “It’s crazy what can happen with a little bit of time and dedication.”

The senior’s entire indoor career culminated in one final throw. All the work he had put in the last four years finally paid off.

“It was worth it,” Zapalac said. “The four years were worth it. All the late nights and early mornings — weekends I could’ve had fun but decided to rest and go work out. It all just added up today.”

The Longhorn men wrapped up the indoor season with a solid weekend in College Station, placing 12th in the team standings with 17 points. Sophomore heptathlete George Patrick, who finished 14th in the heptathlon, picked up valuable experience in his first championship meet.

“(I need to work on) my mindset,” Patrick said. “When I get down on something, like after I long jumped, I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve jumped further,’ and I kind of brought that with me to the shot put. I wish I could’ve shed that a little earlier.”

For some, like freshman distance runner Sam Worley — who finished 15th in the mile after a collision with another runner — this meet provided just a little extra motivation heading into the outdoor season.

“It will definitely fuel the fire,” Worley said. “I felt like I had the ability to make the final and earn All-American status. To come up short of that kind of feels like I’m going to be carrying a chip on my shoulder going into outdoor.”