‘Lazy perfectionist’ Brandstatter aiming high, fast

Senior multievent athlete Travis Brandstatter expects to win a Big Ten title.

Travis Brandstatter makes it clear that anything other than a Big Ten individual title this weekend will disappoint him.

A senior multievent athlete on Minnesota’s men’s track and field team, Brandstatter is going into the Big Ten Indoor Championships in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday with nothing but winning on his mind.

“He’s going in as the favorite, no doubt,” Minnesota assistant coach Scott Bennett said. “I don’t know what would happen for him not to win it.”

Brandstatter is already a conference champion in the decathlon, which he won at the 2004 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in May.

At last year’s conference indoor meet, he finished second in the heptathlon – a finish he’ll almost assuredly top this time.

He said his success has as much to do with his natural athletic abilities as his interesting approach to training, labeling himself a “lazy perfectionist.”

“If I don’t get things right the first time, I get pretty annoyed with it,” Brandstatter said. “I put in the time that it requires, but at the same time, I don’t want to put in that much time to get the results that I’m looking for. I want them to happen quickly.”

Brandstatter improved drastically from the 2003 to 2004 seasons, when he bettered his heptathlon score by more than 300 points and his decathlon by nearly 600 – an advancement Bennett said is almost unheard of.

Brandstatter said the drastic improvements have much to do with getting more technically sound in the field events and becoming consistent in every event and meet.

While Brandstatter has always been a strong hurdler and high jumper, Minnesota coach Phil Lundin said he has been impressed with how quickly Brandstatter caught on to the technical events.

Pole vault and javelin are two of Brandstatter’s better events, but he had never done them before college.

Though his approach to training has stayed the same, Brandstatter’s approach to competition has matured during his five years at Minnesota.

Bennett said that while Brandstatter is blessed with gifts of strength, speed and size, he’s also made a big attitude adjustment, which has proved to be just as important.

“Sometimes, what has happened in the past is that he’s gotten very angry at himself,” Bennett said. “If you’re going to be successful, you’ve just got to let it go.”

Brandstatter said he’s now able to channel any frustration into incentive to work harder, rather than let it hurt his performance.

If he wins the heptathlon this year and repeats as decathlon champion at the outdoor meet in May – both of which are expectations – he would own three conference titles, which is a rare feat.

Lundin said his initial goal in recruiting a multievent competitor like Brandstatter is to develop someone who can one day score at the Big Ten Championships.

And now, he’s got a senior who’s expecting no less than to win them.

“To have a guy go beyond that and become national-caliber and one of the best in the U.S. is extremely rare,” Lundin said. “It says a lot about Travis.”