St. Edward's Steele Wasik, shown competing in the 110 meter hurdles at the 2013 state track meet, won the AAU Junior Olympic Games decathlon title July 28. - (Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer)
LAKEWOOD, Ohio - St. Edward’sSteele Wasik is still trying to get his hands on an individual Ohio state track title, but he did recently manage to catch NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Wasik, who lives in Medina, won theAAU Junior Olympic Games decathlon July 28 at Eastern Michigan University. Competing in the boys 17-18 age group, Wasik amassed 7,037 points in the decathlon, distancing himself from the runner-up by more than 1,300 points.
In doing so, he earned the Joel Farrell Outstanding Performance Memorial Award, given to an athlete each year based on performance and sportsmanship. Griffin III received the award in 2007 and 2006.
“That was really icing on the cake,” said Wasik. “It’s really cool, and an honor to be given an award that Robert Griffin III was given.”
This was the second year Wasik competed in the national event. An accomplished hurdler, Wasik’s development in events such as long jump and high jump caused St. Edward assistant coach Mike Young to steer him toward the decathlon. He finished third at last year’s Games.
“Last year was really fun. It was a lot of learning, but it wasn’t serious,” said Wasik. “It was more just to get a taste.”
This time, Wasik dominated.
He won the 100 meters (11.32 seconds), 400 (49.02), 110 hurdles (14.25), high jump (6-foot-7) and long jump (21-5.25); was second in the discus (135-04) and shot put (42-06.75); third in the javelin (144-01) and pole vault (10-11); and fourth in the 1,500 (4:47.44).
Although Wasik was already up by 1,200 points heading into the final event – the 1,500 – he didn’t relax. He ran a personal best to reach his goal of 7,000 points.
“To really push yourself in the last event when you’re already winning is tough,” said Wasik. “But I really wanted that 7,000-point total.”
Lake Catholic’s Matt Ludwig, who lives in Chardon and will be a junior this year, was fourth in the decathlon. He won the pole vault (13-4.5), was third in the long jump and fourth in the 100.
Other area athletes competing at the Games included (15-16 girls) Daija Young, Cleveland (Trinity), third in shot put, 12th in discus; Bridget Keenan, Cleveland Heights, 11th in discus; (17-18 boys); (17-18 girls) Monica Carson, Twinsburg, fifth in javelin; Asya Reynolds, Shaker Heights, seventh in heptathlon; and (15-16 boys) Brian Smith, Wadsworth, sixth in 800.
Wasik helped St. Edward repeat as Division I state champion last spring. He was runner-up in the 110 and 300 hurdles. He was a member of the Eagles’ state-champion 4x100 relay team in 2012.
Wasik is being recruited by numerous Division I college programs, including Ohio State, Kentucky, Stanford, Oregon and Duke.