After a record-setting track career at Orcutt Academy, Max Daniels' next athletic adventure will be at Chico State.
He will be a part-time decathlete there.
"There will be maybe two or three decathlons a year," when he competes for the NCAA Division II Wildcats, the Orcutt senior said recently.
He said his main open events for Chico State will be the long jump and the 200. Daniels said he will also run a leg for the Wildcats' 4x400 relay team.
Daniels qualified for the 2019 CIF Central Section Masters Meet in the open 400. "Hopefully I'll get to run the open 400," as a collegiate athlete, Daniels said.
"I've only been running the open 400 a couple of years. I have a lot of room to grow in that event. I hope to have it down (in the 47-second range) and maybe even below 47 when I leave Chico State."
Daniels' 400 seed time for the Central Section Masters Meet, which took place May 18 at Clovis Buchanan High School, was 51.6.
At Orcutt Academy, he set school records in the open 200 and 400, and anchored the Spartans' school-record 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams.
He was the Orcutt Academy Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Male Athlete of the Year nominee. Orcutt Academy joined most of the other area sports programs in a move from the Southern Section to the Central Section early last year. The 2018-19 school year was the first one in the Central Section for the new members.
Daniels helped Orcutt Academy to a share of the inaugural Ocean League track title with Pioneer Valley. He qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division 4 Preliminaries as a sophomore and junior. This year, Daniels was an all-Ocean League selection.
The decathlon is a two-day event, with five events each day. The 100 meters, shot put, long jump, high jump and 400 take place the first day. The 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500, the final event, take place the second day.
Other than the 100, 400 and long jump, Daniels' experience in decathlon events ranges from little to none.
"I've talked to several guys, including decathletes, on the Chico State track team, and they've said there is no way you can prepare for the 1,500," said Daniels.
Coming at the end of an already grueling two days, "The 1,500's just heart," Daniels said.
Daniels said he had contact with Chico State earlier this year. "It's a beautiful place," he said. "A river runs through it, and that's really cool."
Besides his track and field exploits, Daniels was a capable football player for an Orcutt Academy 8-man squad that made it to the 2019 sectional semifinals. However, he said his football days are through.
"This year, my two main schools were Chico State and Chapman," said Daniels. "Chapman wanted me to do football and track there. I ended up deciding to do solely track.
"I had a couple offers for football, but I kind of decided to move away from football and focus on track. I feel I'm not really the right build for football," the rangy Daniels said.
"If I put on more pounds for football, it might slow me down for track. I feel for me it was the right choice, just for the long term. And it's easier to balance academics with track than it is for football. And for me, academics is huge."
Daniels said Cal Poly was his first choice earlier in his high school career but that Cal Poly eventually faded as an option for him.
"My freshman year in high school, I wanted to (eventually attend) Cal Poly, but getting there for academics and sports just didn't work out."
Daniels said that he will major in business administration, "for now," at Chico State.
"That might change," said Daniels. "I might add a major. I might change majors."