Christopher Gabor focuses on every event of the decathlon and does not worry about how his fellow contestants are performing, but he had to admit Wednesday he felt badly when the leader in the competition at the Penn Relays failed to clear a height in the pole vault.
Gabor, a graduate student at Mount St. Mary’s, capitalized on the misfortune that befell defending champion Ken Mullings and won the decathlon with a score of 6,792 points, a personal best.
Gabor’s teammate with the Mountaineers, freshman Rene Rosso, captured the women’s heptathlon with 4,548 points.
Mullings, of the University of the Bahamas, began the day with a 180-point lead and extended his advantage to 545 points over Gabor after winning the 110-meter hurdles in 14.63 seconds and the discus with a throw of 141 feet, 1 inch.
In the pole vault, the eighth event, Mullings elected to begin with the bar at 12-9 ½, but he missed all three attempts, scoring no points. Gabor picked up 731 points with an effort of 14-5 1/4 to take the lead for good.
“Definitely I feel bad for him,” Gabor said. “It’s an empty feeling. I’ve been in that situation myself, so I understand kind of the toll it takes on you mentally. But I’m always here competing against myself. I don’t focus on how other people are doing in terms of points.”
Mullings, who said he was on pace to better his personal best of 7,427, said he “underestimated” the bar on all three tries. He finished second with 6,649.
“It was really disappointing because I was trying to set another PR,” he said. “All I needed to do was to have a good pole vault, but that didn’t happen.”
Competing for the third time at Penn, Gabor said his highlight was breaking 50 seconds in the 400 for the first time. He said he didn’t have “any crazy-good events, but there was nothing that was too bad. It was just consistently pretty good.”
Rosso said she established a personal best in each of her seven events in posting a 160-point win over runner-up Taylor Wiederrecht of Messiah.
“Better than expected for sure,” Rosso said. “I’ve just been kind of sick lately so I came in kind of thinking it wouldn’t go well. So I guess that’s what it takes.”
Rosso posted her best marks in the 100-meter hurdles (14.85 seconds) and the high jump (5-6).