1973 Devils Lake grad breaks American record in decathlon event

Sam Herder
Doug Osland (middle) pictured at the National Decathlon Championship in San Antonio, Texas in June. Osland broke the American record for men's age 60-64 with 7,638 points.

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports

Thirty-eight years had passed since Doug Osland competed in a decathlon. The last time he took part in the grueling event was 1977 at North Dakota State, where he held the decathlon record.

But years later, he got back into it, and in June of this year, the 1973 Devils Lake High School graduate broke the men’s age 60-64 American record of 7,287 with 7,638 points at the USATF National Masters Combined Events Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

At 60-years-old, Osland competed in the 60-64-year-old group and took first out of 10 competitors.

Not bad for someone who took so many years off.

“I didn’t really do any training,” Osland said. “While I was in between there, I was a banker for 32 years working for Wells Fargo most of the time and didn’t get back into it until I retired four years ago. Then I’ve been training pretty hard the last four years.”

Osland’s marks were 13.12 in the 100, 5.25 (17-2 3/4) in the long jump, 11.95 (39-2 1/2) in the shot put, 1.61 (5-3 1/4) in the high jump and 64.72 in the 400 for Day 1. He ran the hurdles in 17.05, threw the discus 40.55 (133-0), vaulted 3.60 (11-9 3/4), threw the javelin 35.49 (116-5) and ran a 1500 in 6:44.19.

Breaking records isn’t anything new to Osland, now residing in Roseville, CA, which is a suburb of Sacramento. He used to have the pole vault record at Devils Lake and the outdoor pole vault and decathlon record at NDSU in 1977.

Osland ran track and field throughout high school and was a part of the school’s first cross country team his junior year when Myron Loberg came to Devils Lake.

“It was a positive experience,” Osland said. “I liked track. My dad and older brother were pole vaulters. And my younger brother was a pole vaulter. The three of us boys all pole vaulted at Devils Lake, so it was kind of natural. We learned to pole vault from our dad on the farm.”

It wasn’t until Osland got scholarships to Lake Region State College and then to NDSU when he realized he could compete well enough in the individual events to be a successful decathlete.

But this was his first decathlon in 38 years. He did do some track in the last four years since retiring. He also competed in an indoor heptathlon in Wisconsin, which is seven events, and broke the American record in March.

Osland is back to breaking records, even with the long hiatus from the sport. He first found his love for track and field in Devils Lake and North Dakota, and is proud to point out who has helped him get to this point.

“Myron Loberg was a good influence on me,” Osland said. “Myron was a nice guy. He mentored and helped a lot of people. He was a good influence on me and kept me going.”