OSCEOLA -

For most of his life, starting on the recess playgrounds, everyone has chased Tim Deal.

"People hear that you're fast, so they're like, 'Oh I can be faster than you.' " the Penn senior says. "They'd race you a little bit and the faster guy obviously won."

In most cases, Deal has been that faster guy. His best quality, throughout an illustrious four years, has been his versatility.

He finished fifth at state in the 300m hurdles last year, sixth in the long jump and was part of Penn's state champion 4x100m relay team back in 2012.

"There are several events out here that if we'd of turned him in, he'd of been one of our top guys in those events as well," says Penn's boys track coach Brad Robertson. "He doesn't run the open 400, but he's run our fastest split that we've ever had here at Penn in the 400 relay."

Deal will put that broad athletic talent to the test next year, when he begins his track career at Purdue. The Boilermaker coaches have him pegged for the decathlon, even though events like pole vault and javelin will be brand new.

"It's nerve-wracking getting recruited for things that you've never done before," Deal admits, saying the 1500m run and the highly technical pole vault will require the most focus. "They're putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Fingers crossed and work hard at it all season long and hopefully it pays off."

"I've seen him be able to step it up to another level that only special athletes really can do," says Robertson. "When the competition is there to really step it up to the next level."

First though Deal has some high school goals to chase. Chief among them, breaking Penn's school record in the long jump.

"The record is 23' 11 1/4," says Deal, who targeted that mark early in his Kingsmen career. "My best jump was last year, it was 23' 6."

Deal was set to take another shot at the record Thursday evening at the South Bend St. Joseph Regional and again at the state championships in Bloomington on June 7.