Jan. 18, 2013
Pentathlon Results | Printable
MADISON, Wis. -- In winning back-to-back Big Ten heptathlon titles, Japheth Cato proved he can play defense.
His defensive efforts were successful again Friday, as the Wisconsin senior claimed the pentathlon at the Wisconsin Elite Invitational for the second-consecutive season.
Cato finished with a score of 3,878 points, which ranks No. 2 nationally this season. He was the NCAA leader in the pentathlon last year after winning the event with a school-record score of 4,040 at the 2012 Wisconsin Elite Invitational.
However, unlike last year's event, which saw Cato locked in a fierce battle with teammate David Grzesiak, who finished runner-up at 3,993, there was little drama this time around. Cato led wire to wire and was never challenged, with only two other competitors finishing the five-event competition.
Fellow Badger Ben Schreib earned the runner-up spot with 3,466 points, while Illinois State's Kevin Fisch tallied 3,181 points for third.
Cato was off the mark early with his effort of 8.26 seconds in the 60 hurdles. The mark was easily the best in the field but well off the career-best 7.88 he recorded last week. He bounced back with a strong effort in the long jump, however, leading the field with a leap of 24 feet, 3 3/4 inches.
Schreib was the class of the shot put with his effort of 42-2, while Cato managed a heave of 38-4 1/4 that ranked fourth overall.
Still, despite falling off record pace early, Cato nearly put himself back in contention to break the 20-year-old Big Ten standard of 4,097 in the fourth event of the day. He posted a pair of third-attempt clearances to move the bar in the high jump to 6-11 1/2, a height that would have matched his lifetime-best mark in the event.
Cato's third attempt was agonizingly close, as he barely clipped the bar with his heel and then watched as it stayed upright momentarily before falling away.
The near-miss cost him 56 points, as he was credited for clearing 6-9. That was a blow to his pursuit of the Big Ten record, and a run of 3:06.57 in the 1000 meters put him well off his personal-best time in the event despite a strong start through the first 800 meters.
Still, the performance was a solid start to Cato's multi-event season, which kicks into high gear when he tackles his first heptathlon of 2013 at Nebraska's Frank Sevigne Invitational in two weeks.
The Wisconsin Elite Invitational, meanwhile, begins in earnest with field events at 11 a.m. Saturday inside The Shell. Running events are slated to begin at 11:30.