Joe Keys breaks 15-year-old decathlon school record

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Joe Keys runs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Panther Tune-Up Feb. 14. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette senior Joe Keys continued to turn heads this season as the Golden Eagles’ captain set a new school record in the decathlon at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at Miami University April 10.

Keys collected six personal-best marks throughout the event to secure a first-place finish in the decathlon with a total of 7,537 points, which is currently the nation’s top effort across the NCAA in 2021.

Finishing the decathlon with the 1500-meter run, Keys said he knew he was in a good position to break the record for the race.

“It was definitely very painful, but when I came through the finish line there was a lot going through my head,” Keys said. “I knew I hit the mark I wanted to right away, so it was pretty exciting.”

The previous school record was held by Matt Piekarski, set back in 2006. He held the record for almost 15 years with a mark of 7,236 points.

Keys crushed his previous best in the decathlon, as the Downers Grove, Illinois native’s previous best mark was 7,138 at the Bryan Clay Invitational during the 2018-19 season. Keys also finished first in the decathlon at the 2019 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, with 7,112 points.

Keys has come a long way throughout his Marquette career and is looking to continue to break records during his senior season after last season came to a disappointing end because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before last season was cancelled, Keys had qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the heptathlon and was named a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Indoor All-American.

Keys is looking to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in his career this season. The event is scheduled to be held in Eugene, Oregon, from June 9 to June 12.

In his fine form right now, Keys is well on his way to making more history for the Golden Eagles this season. 

This story was written by Sam Arco. He can be reached at sam.arco@marquette.edu or on Twitter @sam_i_am119.