By Craig Pearson
TERRE HAUTE — Remember how American decathletes “Dan and Dave” were hyped by Reebok heading into the 1992 Olympics in Atlanta?
Well, Dave Johnson went on to win the bronze medal, but Dan O’Brien failed to make the Olympic team.
“Anthony and Erica” may not have the marketing capability of “Dan and Dave,” but neither of Indiana State’s outstanding multi-event participants had let-down performances this weekend in the Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
Anthony Bertoli, a Terre Haute South graduate, placed third in the decathlon for his best career finish in the MVC meet, and Erica Moore, a Sullivan graduate, took home her first heptathlon title.
Both athletes competed in other events. Moore took first in the 400-meter hurdles, and she anchored the second-place 1,600-meter relay team.
Counting the 10-event decathlon, Bertoli finished off his 15th event when he finished eighth in the 400 hurdles. The original plan was for Bertoli to run a leg of the 4x400, but the proverbial tank was running awfully low at that point.
“Yeah, obviously it was my 15th event so it starts to wear on you eventually,” said Bertoli, who was disappointed he couldn’t help his team overcome an outstanding Northern Iowa team. “I ask a lot of myself and a lot of my team — we just came up a little short. They’ll be back next year and I’ll be here helping out coaching and we’ll get it pulled off.”
Bertoli started Sunday by finishing 10th in the pole vault, and then he took seventh in the 110-meter high hurdles.
“Today was kind of frustrating … for me as an individual, the vault hasn’t gone the way it should have for me all outdoor season,” Bertoli said. “I just got left in the blocks a little bit and had kind of a sloppy race. I couldn’t get my trail leg around so didn’t finish quite as high as I’d like to there.”
After the 400 hurdles, coach John McNichols decided he had to replace him the 4x400 relay.
“His drive was just off in the first hurdle,” said McNichols, who was impressed by Bertoli’s ironman effort to attempt to compete in 16 events in three days.
“That’s crazy for a coach to do that to a guy, but he wanted to do it,” McNichols said. “He’s got great endurance and strength. If anybody could pull off that sort of thing, he would be a guy that can do it. But you know there’s a point they’re going to start to falter — you saw that with him in the 400 hurdles.”
After giving her friend a hug, Moore said Bertoli is a man that will be missed around the Marks Field track.
“Anthony’s one of the few people that really does understand what it’s like to be a multi-eventer, if not more than me,” Moore said. “Definitely have a special relationship there. We can be there to support each other during a meet. He’ll be a good coach. He’s very in tune with track and field.”
• Beautiful day caps off meet — The first Missouri Valley Conference meet at Marks Field since 2001 went off with no problems.
A large crowd witnessed Sunday’s final day under perfect spring weather. Marks Field had a large video board that many spectators and coaches viewed for results and team scores throughout the meet.
The new blue track combined with blue and white flags that whipped in the wind all weekend made for a picturesque scene.
“Compliments to Indiana State for hosting a terrific meet,” Northern Iowa coach Travis Geopfert said. “They did a great job. The facility was ready to go and looked great. Gartland and McNichols work their tails off and do a terrific job.”
Craig Pearson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (812) 231-4356.