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Clearwater senior Jacob Long is ready to take his talents to the next level. On Tuesday in front of friends, family and mentors, Long signed his letter of intent to continue his track and field career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“It’s really exciting and something I’ve always dreamed of,” Long stated. “When I was little, I didn’t think I’d be a track athlete, but it’s something I’m definitely super excited about.”
Long will join the Husker track and field team as a walk-on in hopes of becoming a scholarship athlete in the future.
“It will motivate me to want to get a scholarship,” Long added. “It’s definitely an honor to get a scholarship. It’s going to make me work harder and I’ll appreciate it more if I do get it. I’m going to put in a lot of work to get there.”
The Cyclone senior plans to compete in the heptathlon during the winter and indoor season, and the decathlon during the outdoor season.
The heptathlon consists of the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter run, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run. The decathlon adds the 100-meter sprint, 400-meter sprint and 1500-meter run.
“We’ve been spending a little extra time on these events,” commented OC track and field coach Shannon Schumacher. “He’s a jumper by nature, but he works hard at it and he puts in the extra time. He’s attended some of the camps and watches film to help him get better. We’ve spent a little bit of time this year trying to pick up the hurdles, something he’s never done before. We’ve thrown the shot put around and I’m even going to pull out some of the pole vault poles to show him how to carry and do the basics so he has a little knowledge of it. I got a friend that has a javelin and I’m trying to get that one day so he can have a fun experience with that.”
Heptathlon and decathlon athletes are considered some of the best athletes in the world because of their versatility and skills in several different areas.
“I’m trying to make sure I work as hard as I can to be able to compete at that level,” Long said. “I feel like my work ethic will keep me going. I’ve talked to some of the (UNL) athletes and I feel like it’s something I can do.”
The Clearwater senior has been one of the most decorated athletes in the school’s history. A three-sport athlete, Long has excelled on the gridiron, hardwood and the track all four years.
“They look at that,” Schumacher noted. “Track people don’t recruit for just track. They saw he was good in football, basketball and the classroom. That’s a big part too. The kid works his butt off on the field, in the class and always tries to do his best. That’s why this happened. It doesn’t come to anyone, he had to work for it.”
Knowing he will be going against the best of the best motivates Long as he prepares to take the next step in his athletic career.
“It kind of surprises me,” Long remarked. “I didn’t see myself as someone who could do that many different events, but I feel like if I put the work in; I can keep up with some people at that level.”
The future Cornhusker hopes his versatility and success during his time as a Clearwater/Orchard athlete will help guide him to success at the collegiate level.
“I feel like it helped me prepare my entire body,” Long continued. “I’ve talked to the multi-events track coach there (T.J. Pierce) and he said most of the decathletes he finds are multi-sport athletes. I feel like that falls in line with the good decathletes and heptathletes.”
Long plans to pursue a degree in animal science and wants to become a large animal veterinarian in the future.
“UNL has a program with Iowa State where I’ll be at UNL for six years and then finish my last two years at Iowa State,” Long concluded.