Annie Huyler '12 can do it all. Last Friday at the Bates Indoor Invitational Pentathlon, the third-year Bowdoin track star qualified provisionally for NCAAs with a score of 3036.
The provisional qualification of 3000 points was easy work for Huyler, who still would like to get an automatic spot at Nationals by breaking the 3400-point plateau. Depending on how many people make it to the automatic standard, a certain amount of provisional qualifiers are allowed to compete; last year, Huyler missed out by just two spots with a score of 3114.
"I was hoping to do better than I did," she said, "but it's still early in the season so I'm pleased with my results."
The indoor pentathlon, a part of track and field unfamiliar to many, consists of five events. The 55-meter hurdles (though at Bates the 60-meter hurdles was raced), high jump, shot put, long jump, and 800-meter race happen in that order with half an hour in between each event.
Points are awarded based on aggregate totals of how the athletes do in the component events, although there is an uneven distribution between the five. The running events are weighted more heavily, so one has to comparably do much better in the shot put than the hurdles to score the same amount of points.
Last week, Huyler's results were 9.80 seconds in the hurdles, 4'10.5" in the high jump, 34'7" in the shot put, 16'4.25" in the long jump, and a time of 2:41.39 in the 800.
She won the shot put, placed second in the hurdles, high jump, and long jump, and finished second overall in the 13-competitor field.
Huyler competes in the pentathlon in the winter and the heptathlon in the spring. They are not part of every meet, however, so at times she competes in single events.
"My favorite event is the high jump," she said, "although my size doesn't really help me with that. I find it kind of relaxing, and the technique isn't as hard for me as it is for other people because I did gymnastics when I was younger. Compared to my opposition, though, my best event is the shot put, in which I usually get around 35 or 36 feet."
Huyler has a long history of track meets in her childhood, as her mom started bringing her to informal local meets when she was three.
Huyler said that her mother took her to meets early on "because my brother was out of control and she needed some outlet for him. Of course then it consisted of duck-duck-goose and catching grasshoppers, but it was a start."
She continued similar track activities until fifth grade when she moved, and then started up again in high school.
Though Huyler was captain of her Williston Northampton (Mass.) School team in her senior year, her greatest pre-collegiate success came in the USA Track and Field (USATF) summer competitions. She made it to Nationals with USATF as one of the top two heptathletes in her region multiple times, and finished eighth overall in her final season.
"It was always so fun to go to different parts of the country to compete," she said.
Huyler also qualified provisionally for Nationals in indoor track last year, but failed to do so in the outdoor season.
"I hope to fix that this year, and I hope to make it to that 3400 mark," she said. "I think I left a lot of room for improvement on this first one, because we weren't expected to have these first meets show our best results since we had been doing so much training (two-a-days) over Winter Break."
Huyler tries to practice each of her events at least twice a week. She said she knows she can improve in the long and high jumps, and is working to beat her 800 time of 2:29 from last year.
"I really enjoy what I do because it's not just one thing; the five events are completely different from each other, so I never really get the chance to get bored with any of them," Huyler said. "I think it goes well with my personality."
"Also," she continued, "it enables me to work with almost everyone on the team. Normally the throwers only work with the throwers and so on, but I'm able to work with them, the jumpers, the sprinters, and virtually everyone else."
Huyler finds it helpful to practice with teammates who specialize in specific events of the pentathlon.
"Michele Kaufman on the hurdles really helps me get better, and Laura Peterson has the school record in the long and triple jumps so she's a great workout buddy," she said.
The next pentathlon for Huyler is at D-III's on February 18, with a few other non-pentathlon meets before then.