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Australian heptathlete competes at Simplot

Saturday was the final day of competition for the Simplot Games in Pocatello.

More than 2,000 athletes came from far and wide for the three-day competition. Each year, Australia usually sends a team and this year was no exception.

Celeste Mucci, one of the top athletes from the Australian team, was back for her third appearance at the games.

Mucci is 17 years old and her hometown is Melbourne, Australia. She also happens to be one of the country’s top heptathletes under 20.

Heptathletes compete in seven different events in a single competition. Day one includes hurdles, high jump, shot put and the 200-meter dash. Day two includes long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. Points are earned for each event. The better the athlete does, the higher the score.

Just a few weeks before coming to the Simplot Games, Mucci broke an Australian heptathlon record with a score of 5,600.

“Each event was going according to plan so I was like, ‘This is pretty exciting,'” Mucci said. “I was just trying to keep my calm because by like the second day I knew I was on track for it and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is great. I could probably pull this off.’ And I did.”

Mucci said she can only compete in a few heptathlons each year because it takes such a toll on the body. But she competes in other competitions year-round.

Now she’s back in Pocatello for her third and final appearance at the Simplot Games. She said the games are a unique opportunity for the team.

“Really what drives us to come is how different it is from Australia,” Mucci said. “I mean, we don’t have anything like this in Australia. It’s such an opportunity to come over here and come run at these games and it’s so exciting for us. We really love it.”

Mucci said the wood track and running indoors with no wind is a change for her. But she said there is one particular adjustment the team has to deal with that other teams might not.

“We do sit a lot on the airplane and then traveling here so hamstring injuries area common thing in our team,” she said.

Mucci said the team has learned to adjust. She said they get rub-downs and make sure they are well warmed up.

She said she learned a lot from competing in the Simplot Games and she takes that experience to other competitions. She said she always enjoys coming to Pocatello.

“I love Pocatello,” Mucci said. “The people here are so nice and so welcoming. I mean, we come here and we get really settled in and we feel like we’re at home and that’s so cool that we are.”

Mucci competed in five event finals on Saturday. And she had a pretty impressive day. She competed in the high jump, long jump, 4×2 team relay, 60-meter dash and hurdles. She finished in fourth place for long jump and second place for hurdles.

Her team won the relay. She also won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.39 seconds. Her high jump finish was 5 feet and 10 inches.

Medals were given out the winners of each event Saturday afternoon after each event wrapped up.

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