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McNaney Leads Team USA to Comeback Victory at Nike Combined Events Challenge

August 7, 2006
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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McNaney holding event trophy. (Photo by Pete Aiken)

McNaney holding event trophy. (Photo by Pete Aiken)

Liberty track and field alumnus Danielle McNaney played a leading role in Team USA's dramatic victory over Germany in this weekend's (August 5-6) Nike Combined Events Challenge.  Her 5,475 points in the heptathlon was the top score on the United States team and helped the Americans defeat Germany by 97 points (15,716-15,619).

Temperatures at Kansas State's R.V. Christian Track soared to 110 degrees on Sunday, making the competition a battle of perseverance.  The German squad held a commanding 1,176-point lead entering the last of seven events, the 800-meter run.  While the Germans had trouble in the event, McNaney finished strong, taking second place with a time of 2:19.58 and leading Team USA's remarkable comeback to victory.

"The heat had a huge effect on the meet," remarked McNaney.  "It affected your ability to focus.  I don't think the German athletes were used to the heat.  Thus, it played to the Americans' advantage.  I think it was more of a help than a hindrance to me personally.  I had been training during the heat of the day for three weeks, trying to prepare for this meet."

McNaney, a 2005 Liberty graduate, placed second overall in the two-day competition.  Only Germany's Julia Machtig defeated her, totaling 5,799 points.

"The role I played was a bit of a surprise," admitted McNaney.  "I had a pretty solid first day and set myself up to do well on the second day.  It was a really special weekend as I'm originally from Kansas and my family, high school coach and some of my high school teammates were able to be there to support me."

A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American at Liberty, McNaney holds school and Big South Conference records in the heptathlon and indoor pentathlon.