Thursday, July 15, 2004

Giesler bids for decathlon spot

Area Olympic hopefuls

By Neil Schmidt
Enquirer staff writer

Officially, Goshen High grad Andy Giesler will be competing Friday and Saturday at the Track and Field Trials for one of three Olympic spots in the decathlon. Realistically, all that's up for grabs in Sacramento, Calif., is one slot.

Tom Pappas and Bryan Clark are not just the two best Americans, but perhaps the top two decathletes in the world, and appear cinches to qualify for Athens. Yet Giesler, whose qualifying score ranks 17th of the 24 men entered, could have a shot at third.

"There's like eight or nine of us in competition for third, and despite what the scores say, I'm one of them," he said. "I'll have to be at my best, but I could make it."

Giesler, 26, is a 2001 Clemson graduate and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference decathlon champion. He placed seventh at NCAAs in 2001. Giesler made the U.S. national team last year, finishing eighth at outdoor nationals, and placed third in 2002 in the heptathlon (seven events) at indoor nationals.

His career high is 7,804 points. "It might take 8,200 or 8,300 to get third," he said.

Giesler now lives and trains in Manhattan, Kan. He said he probably won't bid for another Olympics, retiring perhaps within the next year.

Five decathlon events are held Friday, the other five Saturday.

Tonight, Walnut Hills and University of Cincinnati grad Mary Danner competes in the semifinals of the 800 meters. Saturday, UC senior David Payne runs in preliminaries for the 110 hurdles.


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