For Ted Scranton, Cal Poly was the only option. His parents, aunts, uncles and cousins all went to Cal Poly. Almost all of his family members that went to Cal Poly played a sport: his father played football for the Mustangs, one uncle played baseball and another competed in track. Even his sister, sophomore Allison Scranton, transferred to Cal Poly and competes in discus.
It’s a family tradition.
When Scranton got cut from the baseball team his junior year of high school, he had some free time. He was an awkward kid that gained 90 pounds and grew six inches over the course of only a couple years. Football became his sport and he planned to play in college.
Scranton decided to try out a new sport in the spring to take the time of baseball: track.
“[In track] you can be awkward as long as you’re fast or strong,” Scranton said.
He was Petaluma High School’s best sprinter and best discus thrower going into his final season but still wasn’t good enough to compete one the college level.
With two weeks left in his senior track season, Scranton showed his potential. He made it to the state championship for discus, throwing it an extra 10 feet past his personal record at just the right time.
Four years and several new events later, Ted Scranton become the Big West Conference Decathlon champion.
Scranton’s huge throws at the high school regional and state meets caught the attention of Cal Poly’s assistant track coach Jenni Ashcroft. Ashcroft immediately wanted to recruit Scranton, but realized it was too late to recruit him as he was a senior.
She learned that Scranton was already attending Cal Poly for business administration, and asked him to join the team.
Scranton’s high school coach recommended that Scranton try out the decathlon, an event that is actually 10 different events in one. The Mustang coaching staff agreed.
As a freshman, Scranton tried it for the first time.
“I was so nervous because I had never done one before,” Scranton said. “The only thing I had heard about it was that it was really, really hard.”
But it went well for Scranton. He stuck with the event and started to love decathlon. As time went on, Scranton got stronger and faster, becoming consistent in every event. He knew that he wouldn’t win tons of events, but he could be in the top five in every event, except for pole vault, his worst.
“Consistency is really important in the decathlon,” Scranton said. “I can throw the same throw every time. I can jump the same jump. I can run the same time every time.”
Injuries started to plague Scranton and hurt his chances to win the Big West championship.
As a junior, Scranton injured his elbow, preventing him from throwing the discus and javelin as far. Patella tendinitis, or “jumper’s knee,” has been a problem for most of his college career. Ailments continued this year as Scranton developed bone calluses on his knee, forcing him to take time off. He even got pneumonia, losing 20 pounds in the process.
He lost about a quarter of his regular training this year, and going into the conference championship meet, he wasn’t feeling his best.
Scranton listened to his regular pump up song, “Look Ahead” by Future and started the meet. The other decathletes also weren’t 100 percent and Scranton saw an opportunity to win.
He was consistent. He was solid. He didn’t choke. He stuck to his guns and he came out on top.
Scranton won the meet by a decent margin, and qualified for regionals in the javelin.
He finished the year ranked 37th in the country in decathlon.
When asked why he would want to do ten events instead of just focusing on one, Scranton’s answer was simple.
“If I just did one thing, it’d be boring,” Scranton said.
After a successful collegiate track career, Scranton hopes to give back and coach track at a local high school.
For now, Scranton spends his time cooking elaborate meals and his homemade curry. From time to time, he even plays piano in the music building, showing his large array of skills.
He’s a jack-of-all trades on and off the track.