Garland, Owens-Delerme Renew Rivalry

Friday and Saturday action at the Albuquerque Convention Center will undoubtedly be exciting from start to finish at the 2023 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, but one event’s final spanning both days has unique significance.

Born on the same day – May 28, 2000 – in the state of Pennsylvania, Kyle Garland and Ayden Owens-Delerme are the two highest-scoring collegians in the heptathlon outside of Ashton Eaton’s collegiate record of 6499 in 2010, the year he won The Bowerman.

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With both eyeing victory, their competitiveness could spur one – or both – to challenge or even surpass the CR that was also a world record at the time.

Last year’s clash between the two resulted in the only competition when two collegians scored 6200 points or more in the same meet.

What will happen this year?

Georgia’s Garland – the CR holder in the decathlon outdoors at 8720 – had a serious threat to the heptathlon CR in January at the Texas Tech Open. Garland scored 6415 points to become the No. 2 all-time collegian, which included an all-time collegiate best score on Day 1. He has finished runner-up in this meet two straight years, both with identical scores of 6200.

Arkansas’ Owens-Delerme – defending NCAA Indoor heptathlon champion after an 11-point victory last year over Garland – has two NCAA titles in combined events, including last year’s decathlon when he tied Eaton’s meet record of 8457. His heptathlon PR is 6272, making him No. 3 all-time collegiately.

The two have met five times in their career in combined events, dating back to the 2018 World U20 decathlon when both were still yet to begin collegiate careers. Owens-Delerme owns a 3-2 career head-to-head overall edge, and they are 1-1 in the heptathlon.

Tale Of The Tape – Indoor PRs

60 Meters6.866.75
Long Jump7.95m (26-1)7.70m (25-3¼)
Shot Put16.58m (54-4¾)15.10m (49-6½)
High Jump2.19m (7-2¼)2.04m (6-8¼)
60-Meter Hurdles7.777.71
Pole Vault5.00m (16-4¾)4.86m (15-11¼)
1000 Meters2:42.822:31.55

Owens-Delerme is also an integral part of the Arkansas 4×400 team, which leads the nation at 3:01.09 – the No. 2 clocking all-time collegiately with Owens-Delerme splitting 45.34 on the third leg. In the solo 400 outdoors, Owens-Delerme owns a PR of 45.07 (achieved in his best-ever decathlon of 8532).

Don’t overlook Leo Neugebauer of Texas. He was runner-up in last year’s NCAA decathlon, finishing between Owens-Delerme and Garland while scoring 8362 to become No. 8 collegian all-time. Neugebauer’s heptathlon PR is 6148. If he were to improve to 6200, he would become the sixth collegian ever to score as many points.