Janesville21.5°

Decathlon shows Klobucar is Ram tough

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JOHN N. BARRY
July 9, 2008
— The decathlon is not for the faint-hearted.

Only the elite male track and field athlete has the stamina, strength and perseverance needed to finish the grueling two-day, 10-event competition.


James Klobucar of Janesville is one of those.


Klobucar just completed a stellar track and field career at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.


The 2004 Janesville Craig High School graduate finished 11th in the decathlon at the NCAA Division III Championships in Oshkosh. Despite a severe chest cold that sapped his energy on day one of the competition, Klobucar finished with 6,057 points for the 10 events. Beresford Brown of Moravian College won the title with 7,192.


“There was a lot of hard work that went into even getting a chance to compete at the national meet,” Klobucar said. “I was really congested the first day, but I’m not using that as an excuse. I still tried my best.


“I didn’t know anything about the decathlon, but I figured if I tried it, it was a chance to give our team some more points during dual meets or tournaments. My coach agreed with me, and that’s why I started doing it (the decathlon) halfway through my junior season.”


Klobucar picked up plenty of hardware for his trophy case outside of competing in the decathlon. He was twice voted the Iowa Conference Track and Field Athlete of the week this past season and set a school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles (53.73) at the Iowa Conference outdoor meet.


Klobucar also won the decathlon at the conference meet and was a five-time all-conference outdoor performer for the Rams.


The decathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter dash on the first day, followed by the 110 high hurdles, discus, javelin, pole vault and 1,500-meter run on the second day.


The first day of the event is one of speed, explosive power, and jumping ability. The second emphasizes technique and endurance.


Klobucar said the shot put and the javelin were the most difficult events to master, while hurdles and 100-meter dash were his specialties. He recorded a personal-best score of 6,289 in the decathlon, and at the national meet, finished third in the 110 high hurdles and the 100 out of 18 competitors in the event.


“You can’t take an event off or coast through any of them,” Klobucar said. “You have to go all out all the time.


“It was frustrating on more than one occasion because I wasn’t seeing much improvement in a couple of events, but I was able to work the kinks out.”


Meanwhile, Klobucar didn’t let athletics interfere with his academic work. He was double major in bio-chemistry and molecular biology and will attend law school at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., in the fall.



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