Amazing year for North Allegheny grad Ayden Owens-Delerme continues at World Championships

Saturday, July 16, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Ayden Owens-Delerme appears nowadays on TV commercials in Arkansas for a local hospital system, but the recent NCAA decathlon champion is ready to take his track talents global.

On the heels of winning a college national championship, the North Allegheny graduate will compete in the World Athletics Championships on July 23-24 in Eugene, Ore. Owens-Delerme is hoping to add another medal to an already amazing year for the rising track star, who also won an NCAA heptathlon title in March during indoor season.

The host site for the World Championships, Hayward Field on Oregon’s campus, is the same venue where Owens-Delerme won his NCAA decathlon title in June. This is the first time the United States has hosted Worlds, which ranks second only to the Olympics in prestige.

“I’m looking forward to competing against the best in the world,” he said.

Owens-Delerme is representing Puerto Rico. The decathlon competition is scheduled for the final two days of the 10-day meet. The 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run are July 23. The 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters are July 24.

The 23-person field includes athletes representing 11 countries.

“My expectations are to go and compete,” Owens-Delerme said. “That’s the mentality. I don’t really concern myself with anything beyond trying to execute the plan we’ve been establishing over the course of the year. It’s a simple approach.

“There may be other guys in the event such as the Olympic champion and the world record holder and world champions — it will be fun to be in that environment — but the decathlon points don’t change just because you’re against those guys.”

Owens-Delerme is 13th in the world rankings.

His NCAA-winning mark of 8,528 points ranks him fourth at Worlds when counting only this season’s best scores. He’s behind 2020 Olympic champion Damian Warner (8,797) of Canada and Americans Kyle Garland (8,720) and Zachery Ziemek (8,573). The field also includes France’s Kevin Mayer, who set the world record of 9,126 points in 2018.

“It will be cool to finally line up against the best,” Owens-Delerme said. “That’s where I belong, because I believe I’m in that category.”

This was his first season competing for Arkansas after a twisting college path that first took him to Southern Cal and later Michigan. He was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at USC and later earned Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas.

Owens-Delerme himself calls it a crazy journey, but he’s now confident that the past six months validated his decisions. The junior was named the 2022 SEC Field Athlete of the Year last month.

“This whole year made it feel like the path I took was the right one,” he said. “You want to get things fast. You want to become a champion early (in your college career). You want to win and accomplish your goals, but it’s all coming together now here at Arkansas.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .


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