PORTLAND-- When Nevin Lewis was being recruited to play college football, coaches needed to travel to tiny Culver, Oregon.

There was a fair amount of buzz for him too.

Lewis opted to sign on and attend Portland State University to play for the Vikings.

But after his football career came to an end, Lewis got a shot at playing a different sport. It s the beauty of being a fifth-year senior these days.

So, Lewis joined the Viks track and field squad.

I d done a lot of these events in high school, just to try to break school records, Lewis said. I didn t really have a long term outlook on thinking I could do the decathlon. It never really crossed my mind.

Well, thankfully it did cross his mind. After his very first decathlon, Lewis scored 7,268 points. An amazing feat for a first timer.

Football probably prepared me mentally for the grind that is the decathlon , Lewis said.

According to his Head Coach, Ronnye Harrison, it s all in the way Lewis views it.

What Nevin has that makes him a great athlete is a very consistent approach to learning these events, Harrison said. He pushes himself way past each event at 110 percent. And when it s over, he doesn t revisit it.

Lewis agrees that he tries to live in the present.

As a receiver in football, you could never dwell on a dropped pass, Lewis said. You ll always get another chance.

So heading into the Big Sky Track & Field Championships this week, Lewis is already ranked as the 19th best decathlete in the NCAA.

Not too shabby for a guy who has just one under his belt at this point.

You always hear people talking about the start of day two, Lewis said. But the start of day two (of competition) didn t seem too tough for me. I wasn t too shocked at how tough the decathlon was. It was easier than I thought.

If he continues to feel that way after this week, maybe he s onto something moving forward.

Lewis figures he ll need roughly 7500 points to make the National Championships coming up next month at Eugene s Hayward Field.

As far as potentially becoming an Olympic level decathlete?

Do I think I can potentially get to that point? Lewis said. Am I gonna be given the opportunity? I don t know. It just depends on this next week at conference.

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