FORT COLLINS — An explosive multi-sport athlete during his prep career at Longmont High School, Josh Cogdill surprised few who knew him when he went on to excel at possibly the most demanding all-around competition in sports.
Cogdill had the type of athletic versatility to attempt the combined events, the ones that require skill in nearly all the track and field events, at the Division-I collegiate level. So he did.
The decathlon, the event that has traditionally awards the moniker of "World's Greatest Athlete" to the Olympic champion, turned out to be Cogdill's bread and butter. Since graduating from Longmont in 2012, he has won the Mountain West Conference decathlon championship in 2015 and 2016.
"It's been a lot of fun," Cogdill said. "Track in college wasn't exactly what I expected at first, to be honest, but I've just gotten better and better, and my goals have gotten higher and higher. Finding the decathlon was a big part of it, having that diversity and having something new to work on every day when you get to practice."
During his senior season in high school, Cogdill medaled in four events (110- and 300-meter hurdles, high jump and a relay) to help the Trojans beat out the Broomfield boys for the Class 4A state team title. He was also a double-digit scorer on Longmont's 16-8 basketball team and caught eight touchdown passes for the 11-1 Trojans football team.
The decathlon is a combined scoring competition that includes the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, 1,500-meter run, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, javelin and the pole vault. His best mark of 7,294 in the decathlon is third on the CSU all-time list.
Even as talented as his was, transitioning into a decathlete wasn't easy for Cogdill, who was a walk-on his freshman year.
"The throws events were a little challenging but became some of my favorites once I started to stand out a little more," Cogdill said. "I still struggle to the day with the pole vault, and the hurdles and high jump are still my best events like they were in high school. I wasn't sure how high to set my goals when I was a freshman but ever since my sophomore year, I've wanted to be an All-American and go to the national meet. I'll just keep working try to get it my senior season."
Cogdill was offered a scholarship his sophomore season. Now a junior at CSU majoring in computer engineering, Cogdill has also received academic All-Mountain West honors in each of his three years.
"What a tremendous athlete," Longmont boy basketball coach Jeff Kloster said. "One of the best we've had come through here. He played a lot of sports at Longmont, and he did it at a high level. Not just that, but he is a great scholar and one of the most coachable athletes I've gotten to work with. He is someone we take a lot of pride in because he has always done it the right way."