By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The first time Daniel Brattain appeared on Ken Scott’s radar, he was in eighth grade.
Scott, the hurdling coach for the McNary High School track and field team, is always on the hunt for potential hurdlers making their way to McNary’s team, but Brattain stood out.
“I saw this young, skinny eighth grader blowing everybody away. He’s three-stepping, he’s got really good form. But I still found a few things to pick on him about,” Scott said. “The next time I saw him race, he’d corrected all of it.”
It’s that type of dedication that coaches at Oregon Institute of Technology likely saw in Brattain, which is why he signed a letter of intent to compete for the Hustlin’ Owls in the decathlon.
Brattain said he visited the campus at the recommendation of a professor at another school he visited.
“He thought it would be a good fit because they have an engineering program that is exceptional, and a good track and field team,” he said. “I went for the visit, met some of the athletes and connected with some of them really well.”
Brattain’s contributions to teams at McNary are no small thing. In addition to starting for the varsity football team the past two years, he holds the school record in the the 300 hurdles and competes in the pole vault, long jump and, occasionally, even relays.
He’ll need all the skills he’s honed as a Celt for the college decathlon which includes sprints, distance running, shot put, high jump, discus and javelin events.
Brattain is unique for his dedication to his craft on the field, but its coupled with his attention to grades.
“You don’t get too many athletes out with his drive in class and on the field. He’s one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest worker,” said Frank Gauntz, McNary head coach.
At McNary, he’s a member of the National Honor Society and takes advanced placement and honors classes to challenge himself.
Brattain plans to get his degree in engineering and then enlist in the Air Force.
“It’s important to me to serve,” he said.
The payoff for his hard work is earning scholarships at OIT in both athletics and academics, which will cover most, but not quite all, of his tuition.
While the Klamath Falls school is somewhat off the beaten path in terms of social life offerings, he’s already looking forward to the wide open spaces.
“I’m ready to meet people with wider interests and spending time outdoors. It seems like it will be a good school with a lot of space to grow,” he said.