After 63 years, Stanford has a new decathlon king: Harrison Williams.
At the Pac-12 Multi-Events Championships at UCLA's Drake Stadium, the freshman broke Stanford's oldest record, the mark set by the legendary Bob Mathias while winning the gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Williams scored 7,679 points to finish second in the meet and beat Mathias' 7,592. In Helsinki, Mathias repeated as Olympic champ by scoring a world-record 7,887 points, a total that has been adjusted to reflect changes in the scoring tables.
"It was something I knew I was going to break at some point," Williams said. "It was awesome to do it, especially because it was held by such a great man as Bob Mathias."
Williams jumped to No. 3 on the all-time U.S. junior list, and his total represents the No. 4 mark in NCAA Division I, No. 7 in the U.S., and No. 14 in the world this year.
Williams entered the second day of the 10-event competition within striking distance of leader Pau Tonnesen of Arizona, and with Oregon's Dakotah Keys, seeking to become the first in conference history to win four consecutive decathlon titles, in third place.
Williams opened the day by winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.55 and moved into first.
The throws are an area where Williams figures to lose some points, and Williams dropped behind Tonnesen in the discus. But the turning point in the competition came in the pole vault, perhaps Williams' strongest event.
Williams passed until 15-2, which he cleared on his first try, but went out at 15-6 1/4 -- about a foot under what he expected to jump. Tonnesen cleared 16-2 to extend his lead and Keys no-heighted, effectively taking the Oregon star out of the competition.
"The pole vault put a damper on the competition," Williams said. "I just wasn't feeling it today, and my steps weren't right. I tried to use that aggression in the javelin, but that's more of finesse event and being aggressive isn't the way to go."
His best javelin toss of 152-3 also was under expectations, and Williams felt the pressure of UCLA's Marcus Nilsson and others heading into the final event, the 1,500, in which he had a best of 4:36.83.
"I really tried to control that aggression and take it into the 1500," Williams said. "I knew I had to keep my place, and got a huge PR. I didn't think I could break 4:30."
Williams ran 4:29.84, scoring 746 points, far more than the 660 he needed to catch Mathias.
"I crossed the line with a big burst of adrenaline for breaking the record and getting eight big points for our team," Williams said. "But at the same time, I felt I left a lot of points on the table. I'm excited to think about what I can do when I put it all together."
During the recruiting process, one of the selling points for Stanford multis coach Michael Eskind was in trying to get Williams to see that he could make history at Stanford and be the best of all-time.
Though only a freshman in his second collegiate decathlon, Williams already has achieved that distinction.
"I'm very happy," Williams said. "This means a lot."
Chris Castellanos turned in his second quality start of the week for the Stanford baseball team, but USC's Mitch Hart threw a five-hitter in a 2-0 win for the Trojans on Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.
Stanford (21-27, 7-16 Pac-12) dropped its third straight Pac-12 series after winning its previous two.
USC (33-16, 14-9 Pac-12) opened the scoring in the fourth on back-to-back doubles from Blake Lacey and AJ Ramirez.
Stanford nearly escaped the threat when Lacey stole third after his two-bagger, but with the ball in third baseman Beau Branton's glove, Lacey's slide kicked out the ball well before the base.
Castellanos, a native of nearby Long Beach, settled down to get out of the fourth and throw two more innings. He finished with one run allowed on six hits, while walking one and striking out three over six innings.
The Cardinal put runners in scoring position on two occasions. Two walks to start the game, followed by a sac bunt by Tommy Edman, gave Stanford a scoring chance in the first and Quinn Brodey reached second base in the fifth with two outs.
Brodey and Edman each had two singles, as they continued to lead Stanford in the series. Edman hit a team-best .625 (5-8) in the series, just ahead of Brodey at .556 (5-9).
Stanford looks to rebound Tuesday against San Francisco. The game starts a four-game homestand for the Cardinal, Klein Field at Sunken Diamond's last four games of the season.