An Elmira District Secondary School alum has become the first multi-sport athlete in the history of the University of Houston’s track and field program to become a First Team All-American.
Nathaniel Mechler, a sophomore at the University of Houston who competes in the heptathlon, set four personal bests, a school record of 5,758 points and took home eighth place at the NCAA Division 1 Track and Field Championships held at Texas A&M last weekend.
Athletes who finish in the top eight of their respective individual events took home First Team All-American honours.
Competing in the heptathlon – which consists of seven events over two days, each scoring points on the time run or distance thrown or jumped – he became the first multi-sport athlete in the history of the program to become an All-American. Despite the success, the young athlete remains humble and focused.
“Leading up to the last event of the competition I knew if I ran well in the 1000m race I would re-break my own school record I had set two-weeks prior. Completing a multi-event is very physically demanding so competing in two within two weeks I knew there would be challenges. But I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with the results I was able to achieve,” said Mechler. “I really didn’t have massive expectations, having just completed earlier in the month, but I was pleased I was able to come out with some personal bests. As far as the score goes and becoming the first All-American in the event in my school’s history, it’s a huge honor. Like any multi-event, there is always room for improvement but in this competition, it was good to see the potential I have to score much higher.”
Prior to the championships Mechler had won the heptathlon at his conference meet in Alabama, with the then-school record of 5,704 points. Slotting him as the eleventh-ranked heptathlete in the NCAA.
Mechler accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Houston in 2016, and has been excelling for the athletics team ever since.
“Competing on the team here in Houston has been a lot of fun. In only the one-and-a-half years that I have been here, I have already had the pleasure of being a part of three conference championship titles. Hopefully in May, I can help the team make it a fourth,” he said. “Now after a seventh-place finish at the NCAA D1 championships, our team has made a statement on the national scene. We have a few more guys who were not competing indoors that will join us outdoors who will surely give us the opportunity to make a run at the national championships.”
Although the indoor season has now come to an end, Mechler has set his sights on competing at the NCAA Outdoor D1 Championships in the decathlon on June 8-10, where he hopes to be able to achieve a decathlon score that would rank him with the best in the world.
“I have been chasing a score of 8,000 points, a number that would label me world class. After my heptathlon indoors, that score has become much more realistic for this season,” he said “So that would be my main goal and however that places me at nationals, only time will tell.”