Specifically, his background in one of the decathlon's 10 events --- the javelin.
"In the islands, we throw a lot of rocks," Felix said. "It just sort of came natural."
And in the end, it just sort of made him a national champion.
Felix, who led after the first five events on Wednesday, held on to win the men's decathlon title on Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Having dropped into third place on Thursday with two events remaining --- the javelin and 1,500-meter run --- Felix won the javelin competition, vaulting back into first place with an effort of 227'-6.00." Only two other decathletes --- Romain Martin of Texas-Arlington (210'-6.00") and Oregon's Dakotah Keys (201'-4.00") surpassed 200 feet.
Felix, who finished with a MW record 8,062 points to fend off the second-place Martin by 106 points, placed 13th in the decathlon at the 2010 national meet. He entered the meet ranked fourth in the country (7,972 points), 95 points behind leader Isaac Murphy of Texas. In the two-day competition at Drake Stadium, Felix bested the seventh-place Murphy by 244 points.
Said Felix: "It was my last NCAA competition, so it feels really good."
Meanwhile, TCU senior Whitney Gipson turned in the second-best mark in MW history to win the national title in the women's long jump.
Gipson, who was recently tabbed the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Association's South Central Region Athlete of the Year, posted the winning mark of 22'-4.25" on her second attempt of the day. Southern Mississippi senior Tori Bowie was second at 21'-10.25."
A five-time All-American and the reigning NCAA indoor champion, Gipson won the long jump at this year's MW Championship for a second straight time, becoming only the fourth student-athlete in league history to win back-to-back championships.
In other news from Day 2 of the NCAA Track and Field Championships:
San Diego State sophomore Allison Reaser sits in ninth place in the women's heptathlon after totaling a first-day personal-best 3,386 points. Reaser's point total is her highest ever after the first day, bettering the 3,355 points she earned en route to winning the event at last month's MW Championships. With three events remaining on Friday, three athletes are less than a 100 points ahead of Reaser, who opened the day by posting the second-fastest time of her career in the 100-meter hurdles (13.77). Reaser set a personal record with an effort of 5'-4.25" in the high jump and turned in her second-best effort of the outdoor season with a mark of 38'-5.00" in the shot put. She also posted her second-fasted time of the season in the 200-meter dash (24.20).
Air Force senior Jim Walmsley advanced to Saturday's finals of the men's 3,000-meter Steeplechase by posting a career-best time of 8:41.05 in Thursday's prelims. Walmsley shaved 10 seconds off of his previous best time to place seventh overall in the field of 24. His mark was the third-fastest in Air Force history.
UNLV senior Amanda Bingson, the MW all-time leader in the women's hammer throw, finished third to earn All-American honors in the finals of the event on Thursday. Bingson, who fouled on her first two throws, advanced with an effort of 219'-8.00" on her third attempt in the opening round. It was the best effort of the day for Bingson, who finished fourth at the national meet a year ago.
New Mexico senior Sarah Waldron, the MW and school record holder in the women's 10,000 meters, earned All-American honors by finishing sixth in the finals of the event on Thursday. Waldron posted a time of 32:58.84.