FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) – Thirty-four. That’s the number of decathlons that Arkansas Track and Field Strength and Conditioning coach Mat Clark has done.

That number also happens to be how old he is.

“Most decathletes since you are never specializing in anything you feel like there’s something else you could have improved on that’s probably why I keep getting lured back in cause there is something I can improve on,” Clark said.

Clark knew he still had something to prove in the sport because in 2017 he tore his Achilles in the USA Track and Field Championships.

Finishing on a note like that was not an option for him, so Clark competed this past weekend in the USA Combined Events Championships at John McDonnell Field.

“Honestly I didn’t think the score from last year would get me in to this meet so I had kind of resigned myself to accept I wasn’t competing this year and then when the registration deadline closed I realized my score would have a shot, so I threw it in there as a Hail Mary, it was more about experiencing it again,” Clark said.

Unfortunately, Clark couldn’t finish the decathlon this time around as he pulled his hamstring in the pole vault event.

“I didn’t have a great score going, a lot of poorly executed events, it’s easy to pin it on age but I think a lot of it is lack of competition, this is the first time I’ve competed in over a year,” Clark said.

Even though this meet didn’t end the way he wanted it to, he doesn’t regret a single thing.

“This was always icing on the cake, it’s been fun to look up into the stands sometimes and remind myself of what’s really important and what I have to look forward to,” Clark said.

While this might have been Clark’s last time competing in the decathlon, it won’t be his last time competing on the track.

His sights are now set on competing in the World Masters Championships, a track and field event for people age 35 and up.