“A Central education really prepares you well. I feel confident I can handle any challenges I face down the road.”
– Will Daniels ’19
Hometown: Geneseo, Illinois
Scholarships: Presidential and Trustee
Campus Activities: Track and Field, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Cross Country and Bible Study
Career Goal: Attend medical school
Will Daniels ’19 is going places.
After graduating from Central College a year early, Daniels headed to the University of Iowa to pursue a master’s degree before turning his attention to medical school.
A three-time NCAA Division III national champion, Daniels left his mark on Central. Central also left an impression on him.
“My experience here exceeded my expectations, and it’s been a ton of fun,” Daniels says. “I feel like it prepared me for the future, and I’ll look back on awesome memories.”
Near the top, certainly, are those three national championships. Daniels won the indoor heptathlon in 2018 when he was a bit of surprise winner and again in 2019 when he battled through the pressures to repeat. He added an outdoor title in the decathlon in 2019.
Along the way, Daniels broke the Division III record with 5,441 points in the heptathlon in a February indoor meet in Waverly, Iowa. In winning the decathlon, he compiled the second-best score in DIII history with 7,427 points.
“It’s pretty cool representing Central at a national level, to show that Central produces athletes who can compete at that high of a level,” Daniels says. “I really feel pride wearing the Central ‘C.’”
A three-sport athlete in high school, Daniels picked Central partly on its reputation to compete at a national level and produce standouts in multi-events. Central’s national titles include: Kurtis Brondyke ’11, indoor pentathlon, 2011; Eric Larson ’15, indoor heptathlon, 2013; Larson, outdoor decathlon, 2013; Ethan Miller ’13, outdoor decathlon, 2011-12; and Peter Wagner ’03, outdoor decathlon, 2003.
“It’s been cool to see my growth since I’ve been here,” Daniels says. “It’s been special, one of the best experiences for me at Central—having coaches who care about me and teammates I love being around. Looking back on who I was three or four years ago, I’ve made strides.”
To know Daniels only as an athlete is half the story. He’s an accomplished pianist, able to sit down at a recital and play Chopin to perfection from memory.
He is also quite the student, being named an Academic All-American while at Central. He carried a 4.0 GPA while finishing his Central education in three years with a degree in biology and a pre-med curriculum.
“A Central education really prepares you well. I feel confident going into future academic endeavors,” says Daniels, who plans to get his master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology. “I’m confident I can handle more challenges down the road.”
Daniels is indeed going places. And it all started at Central.