It is not really surprising that Tim Duckworth wants to study mining engineering in college. He has been doing a good job mining his track and field talents for quite some time.
The hard work and versatility led the senior athlete from Phoenix Arcadia to the state decathlon championship as a junior in 2013, edging out former Phoenix Brophy Prep star Devon Allen.
Duckworth is back at it again this spring, aiming for another decathlon title as well as individual titles in the high jump and pole vault.
He had a strong performance in last week’s Arcadia (Calif.) national meet, one of the top such events in the country. He finished second in the decathlon and went 15 feet, 10 inches in the pole vault and a personal-best 172 feet in the javelin. He also has gone 6-10 in the high jump this year.
He enjoys the high jump and pole vault and has continued to show maturity and improvement in both events. He also is pleased with his improvement in the long jump.
During the “offseason’’ – there really isn’t one – he worked on the throwing events and became more involved in organized weightlifting, following more of a program.
“I have gotten a lot stronger, and that has helped,’’ he said.
The high jump was Duckworth’s first serious event. He started back in the fifth grade. Two years later, he began to try the pole vault, and since has worked with former Arizona State pole vaulter Nick Hysong.
He has competed in the events long enough to know which of his fellow competitors are serious about what they are doing.
“Some guys just go out there (high jump) and do it just to do it,’’ he said. “And then there are the guys who really want to win. Those are the ones to watch. You can tell when you see their form – how they arch their back, things like that.’’
One of the reasons that drew him to the decathlon is that competing would be a good way to earn a college scholarship if he worked hard enough and was good enough.
Duckworth will go to the University of Kentucky, where he will study mining engineering.
He has been a solid student at Arcadia. Finding the time to train and follow up with schoolwork isn’t the easiest thing, “but I have done pretty well. You know that is something you have to do.’’
He has participated in club track in the past, and usually will take August off, “but I find that I don’t know what to do with myself,’’ he said.
So elements of training start to creep back in. To diversify his routine a bit, he incorporates bike riding, focusing on the speed element.
When training during the high school season, he focuses on a few different events each day.
“It’s fun to do and I have to admit – I like to win,’’ he said.