FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - On the heels of his victory at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, Gunnar Nixon was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week as announced by the national governing body Wednesday afternoon. In addition to his gold-medal performance, the Edmond, Okla., native set the American junior record with his total of 8,018 points, surpassing the previous mark held by Arkansas teammate Kevin Lazas by two points.
The win for Nixon represented the first-ever decathlon medal for the USA at the World Junior Championships. Heading into the final event, Nixon was in second place overall and needed to finish 14 seconds ahead of then-leader Jake Stein of Australia. Nixon ended up with a personal-best run of 4:22.36, nearly 24 seconds clear of Stein. The Razorback soon-to-be sophomore had a previous best of 4:30.41 in the 1,500 meters.
During the two-day, 10-event competition, Nixon established an overall personal best in the 1,500 meters and junior-implement bests in the shot put (14.54m/47-8.5) and discus (42.23m/138-6). Nixon's gold medal was the first of the event for Team USA. Prior to the meet, Nixon was named a co-captain for the American squad. He won the USA junior national title in the decathlon in June with a score of 7,660 points in Bloomington, Ind.
Nixon was previously recognized by the USATF in February on the heels of his record-breaking performance in the heptathlon at the Razorback Invitational. At the two-day event in Fayetteville, Nixon set the world junior record with 6,022 points. Nixon, the fifth collegian to eclipse the 6,000-point barrier, surpassed the previous world junior mark of 5,953 set by Michael Kohnle of West Germany in 1989.
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