Man in motion Dotson dreams of Olympics


When it comes to the 2020 Olympic Trials, Joe Dotson says he is swinging for the fences.

If Florence is a City in Motion, then Siuslaw graduate Joe Dotson may be its man in motion.

This summer he can be seen (but not likely caught) running the bases at Miller Park as a member of the first-place Welton Construction slow-pitch softball team.

Next summer, Dotson hopes to be taking a few competitive spins around the University of Oregon's rebuilt Hayward Field.

"My goal is to qualify for the Olympic Trials (decathlon) in 2020," Dotson said between games Wednesday at Miller Park. "I'm what you call a long shot."

He needs two things to happen.

First he needs a qualifying score of 7,800.

"I've calculated it, and right now I feel I can score 7,600 … 7,700," he said. "I'm going to work my butt off until I get to (7,800). That's what I'm workings towards."

Then he needs to be among the top 16 decathletes in the United States to punch his ticket to the Trials.

"That would be absolutely fabulous," Dotson said.

To achieve his Olympic dreams, the four-time NAIA All-American took a red-shirt year this past spring at Southern Oregon University. Dotson is eligible for one more season of indoor and outdoor competition.

"I haven't competed in the decathlon in a year, so I don't know where I'm at this year," Dotson said.

"My junior year, I was on chart to score 7,000 points and I no-heighted in the pole vault at the conference meet," he said. "The pole vault is one of my best-scoring events."

The pole tip was damaged when it stuck in the box on his first attempt, and Dotson was unable to overcome the problem in his second and third attempts.

"I should have taken better care of the pole," he admitted.

Dotson's personal record in the event is the 6,695 he scored in finishing second at the NAIA national championships in May 2017 as a sophomore.

He scored 6,484 as a freshman to finish fifth in the NAIA championships and 6,636 as a junior to finish fourth.

Dotson was an All-American each of his first three outdoor seasons, and earned his fourth All-American honor this past winter when he placed sixth in the NAIA heptathlon championships.

To achieve his goal of 7,800 points, Dotson will need to match or surpass his PRs in each of the 10 events that make up the decathlon.

Dotson fully expects big bumps in his high jump, long jump and javelin marks at next year's NAIA nationals.

"I've had rotten luck with the high jump," he said. "All three years of the outdoor I've jumped 5-6, which is six inches under my PR.

"The long jump I know I can improve, and the javelin is the event where I can see a lot of growth."

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound athlete still sees a lot of growth in his future.

This past school year he helped resurrect the intramural program at SOU.

"I'm trying to get as many people on campus involved as possible," Dotson said

He's only a few credits short of completing his bachelor's degree in health and physical education, and he's adding minors in biology and psychology to beef up his resume.

In the next month, he will begin the application process for graduate school, limiting his choices to Oregon State, Kentucky, Florida State and Adams State (Colorado).

Florence may be in his future.

"I'd love to come back and help the Siuslaw programs in any way possible," Dotson said.

He would love to repay the mentoring and encouragement he received from such coaches as Chris Johnson, Jack Butler and Tim Dodson.

His No. 1 inspiration?

"If I had to pick one person that has inspired me to do all this, I'd say it was my brother Josh Thomas-Dotson," Dotson said. "He played college football at the University of Oregon and was drafted by the San Diego Padres.

"He is 12 years older than me, so I got to watch and learn from him in every sport I've played in."

The two brothers are now teammates on Welton Construction

"I love being our here with these guys," Dotson said. "It's a lot of fun."

And a lot of run, but in character for Florence's man in motion.




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