Germantown Academy's Kyle Garland spent last weekend outside the United States. The junior competed in the decathlon at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, a select meet in Havana, Cuba. Garland won the competiton with a personal best 6,9,59 points.
He twas gracious enough to answer some questions for us on experiencing Cuba, advice for younger multi-eventers, and his plans for the rest of the summer. See what he had to say below:
PennTrackXC: Most Americans are still prohibited from traveling to Cuba. Describe to us your experience of Cuba from a non-track perspective and what you were able to take away from it?
Kyle Garland: This was an amazing experience for me in many different ways. I got to learn a lot about the Cuban culture. I got to see some amazing tourist sights and I got to eat some amazing food as well! This was also a very humbling experience for me because it allowed me to realize how privileged I am.
PTXC: Now to the track and field. You took home the win in the decathlon. How nice was it to leave Cuba with the victory?
KG: Coming home with a win from my first international meet is beyond incredible. The hard work that I had put in leading up to this moment really showed with me taking home the win. The win was also very sweet because my parents came on the trip so I was able to spend this win with them, along with my teammates and new friends.
PTXC: What were some of your strongest events in your opinion for the competition (in Cuba)?
KG: When competing in the decathlon, my strongest events usually come on the first day but in this competition, my stronger day was my second day. I had huge personal bests in the discus (128 feet), pole vault (12'1") and javelin (158 feet). My first day was just an average day (100 meters: 11.35; Long Jump: 21'9"; Shot Put: 43'; High Jump: 6'6"; and 400 meters: 50.6), but I was able to bounce back for the second day and piece together a huge score of 6959 with junior implements.
PTXC: What are some areas you feel still need some improvement out of the ten events?
KG: I feel as if there is room for improvement in every one of the ten events. Being that I am just 17 years old, I am still very young and there is still a lot of physical development that is still to come.
PTXC: How do you delegate in practice to get training in for each event? Is it about working twice as hard, or finding ways to get work in for multiple events at once?
KG: My practices are very different than most athletes that specialize in one specific event. When talking to my coach/dad to plan for my weeks practice, we like to try and incorporate almost all, if not all, of the 10 decathlon events. Some days will be used to work on one specific event and other days we will work on 2 to 3 different events. Along with our event specific work, we are always working on strength, quickness, and body control which are important for all of the events.
PTXC: What's some advice you could give to younger athletes possibly interested in the multis?
KG: My advice to the younger mulit-eventers would be to never give up no matter what. When trying to be a successful multi-eventer, there will always be moments when you won't get something right or you aren't 100% but that is a part that comes with being a decathlete, heptathlete or pentathlete. Nothing that we do is easy but we always have to be mentally ready for anything and everything that is thrown at us.
PTXC: I'm sure the college selection process is well underway for you. How are you enjoying the process so far?
KG: The recruiting process has really heated up for me and it is a fun process! The connections and relationships that I am associating my self with are invaluable. I am so looking forward to finding the best academic and athletic college fit for me.
PTXC: What's next for you? Is the decathlon at New Balance Nationals in your plans? If so, what are your goals for NBNO?
KG: I will be at New Balance Nationals, but will not be contending in the decathlon this year. My reasoning for that is because I am traveling out to Sacramento, California for the Pan-Am Junior Trials later that week, where I will be doing the decathlon and hopefully can make that team. I will be doing the championship 110 hurdles and high jump at NBNO! If all goes well over the next year, I will be back for the decathlon at NBN where I think I can do something very very special!