By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — Already one of the nation’s premier men’s track and field teams, the Texas Longhorns got a strong offseason boost when former UCLA decathlete Steele Wasik announced he was transferring to UT.
Wasik competed in the decathlon for the Bruins for two seasons, picking up second-team All-America accolades as a freshman. He said the chance to compete under UT head coach Mario Sategna and the overall experience of being a student-athlete in Austin combined to convince him to transfer.
"Texas is a very prideful place and I took Coach Mario's motto of winning with integrity to heart," Wasik said. "This is an elite program where I can better myself in all aspects of being a student-athlete, including being pushed by an amazing training group and using world-class facilities. I know the staff wants you to be successful in life, not just on the track. More than anything I'm excited to get to work and help Texas win an NCAA championship."
The Longhorns now have three gifted decathletes. Wasik will join first-team All-America Wolf Mahler and George Patrick, the top-ranked high school decathlete in the country last season on the Texas roster.
Sategna said the addition of Wasik moves the UT decathlon group from the upper echelon to the elite.
"I'm very excited to be adding Steele to our combined events group," Sategna said. "He is an All-American that will give us a tremendous amount of experience and depth in that area. I think with his addition to the group, we will have one of the best decathlon squads in the nation and should be able to score a lot of points at the conference championship and compete at the NCAA level as well."
Wasik earned his All-America status when he finished 12th in the decathlon as a freshman, and has a personal best of 7,521 points — a score that would rank 10th in Texas history. He will be eligible to compete immediately for UT and will have two years of indoor eligibility and three outdoors after redshirting this outdoor campaign. During the 2016 indoor season he posted the No. 9 score in the NCAA in the heptathlon with 5,783 points — a score would have won the Big 12 Conference title by more than 250 points.