Four-time All-American. Six-time Conference USA champion. Rice record-holder in the heptathlon and C-USA record-holder in both the decathlon and heptathlon. Scott Filip’s accomplishments alone could fill up an entire resume. There’s a very good argument to be made that he is the most prominent Rice athlete on the national stage; last year he finished fifth in the decathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and was the top American finisher at the 2017 Thorpe Cup, a decathlon dual meet between the United States and Germany. All this just a year after finishing 10th in the decathlon at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
So far this year, he’s continued to impress. Save for one slip-up in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, he was dominant all indoor season in the heptathlon. He won the C-USA indoor title for the fourth time in five years, and in his first decathlon of the outdoor season this past week at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, he finished third and tied the second-highest point total of his collegiate career. Filip said he attributes much of his sustained success to the people around him.
“My family, coaches, and other support systems give me confidence, hope and security,” Filip said. “If I were to disclose all the reasons for my success I would spend all of the time talking about others.”
In fact, it was through his high school track coach that Filip first became acquainted with the heptathlon and decathlon. Both are combined events that consist of several individual competitions spanning the breadth of track and field, including sprints, throws, and jumps; the heptathlon, an indoor event, has seven events, while the decathlon — its outdoor counterpart — contains 10. Filip said that of the many events, he most enjoys competing in the long jump and the pole vault.
“[The long jump and the pole vault] are my favorite [events] because they are explosive and technical,” Filip said. “Plus, I’ve been long jumping for as long as I can remember, especially from [my] elementary school days, playing ‘jump the river.’”
In high school, Filip competed under the banner of the Dupage Track Club during the summer, whereupon he found success quickly after giving the decathlon a try. By the summer after his sophomore year, he was an All-American decathlete, placing second at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. According to Filip, it was then when he knew this was something he wanted to pursue at the collegiate level.
“I pretty much knew I wanted to be a collegiate student-athlete after my sophomore year of high school,” Filip said. “I knew that I would be competitive and I knew that it would be the best way to continue my athletic and academic endeavors.”
Eventually, Filip settled on Rice as the next stage in both his athletic and academic careers. He said that Rice appealed to him strongly in both areas.
“The reason I wanted to come to Rice was the outstanding academic reputation and the commitment to student-athletes the track program makes,” Filip said. “The guys on the team were exactly what I was looking in teammates.”
Though he has excelled on the track since his arrival here in Houston, Filip has not been idle in his studies. He’s currently pursuing his Master’s degree in global affairs after completing his undergraduate degree in sport management this past spring, and he said he hopes to pursue a professional career after his athletic career concludes.
“I want to continue competing through the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials,” Filip said. “[But] after my athletic career I plan to work for the [U.S.] Government in the Department of Justice and then move to the private sector focusing on international relations.”
Outside of studying and competing, Filip said he’s taken up an interest in soccer to go along with his love for TV.
“I am a big soccer fan,” Filip said. “I enjoy following European leagues and MLS, plus I play tons of FIFA. [I’m] also a huge fan of “The Walking Dead”, which I have watched every Sunday night since my sophomore year of high school.”
For now, Filip’s focus is still on his time at Rice. He said his goals for this outdoor season include earning a fifth All-American selection and scoring over 8,000 points in the decathlon (his personal record is 7,915 points). According to Filip, the experiences he’s had and the friends he’s made as an Owl will remain with him for a long time to come.
“During my time at Rice, I have enjoyed creating new relationships with fellow students, teammates, and professors,” Filip said. “I look at myself and see how I’ve grown and developed throughout my time here. Everyone and everything that I’ve interacted with [plays] a part of the man I am now, and the man that I will continue to be in the future.”