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Ballengee, Chelanga Set for USATF Outdoor Championships

June 20, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Markus Ballengee (left) and Sam Chelanga (right) will both attempt to qualify for Team USA at the 2017 USATF Junior and Senior Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

Markus Ballengee (left) and Sam Chelanga (right) will both attempt to qualify for Team USA at the 2017 USATF Junior and Senior Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

USATF Jr./Sr. Live Results Page

USATF Jr. Meet Schedule (All times listed are Pacific)

USATF Jr. Video Streaming ($)

USATF Jr. Meet Informational Page

USATF Sr. Meet Schedule (All times listed are Pacific)

USATF Sr. Video Streaming ($)

USATF Sr. Meet Informational Page

Sacramento Weather

Liberty freshman Markus Ballengee (junior decathlon) and 2011 graduate Sam Chelanga (senior men's 10K) are set to compete in the 2017 USATF Junior and Senior Outdoor Championships. The meets will be held concurrently Thursday through Sunday at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif.

Ballengee will begin the decathlon competition Thursday at 1:20 p.m. Eastern with the 100-meter dash. His second day will get started Friday at 12:45 p.m. Eastern with the 110-meter hurdles.

Chelanga's 10K race is slated for Thursday night/Friday morning at 1:09 a.m. Eastern.

How to Keep Up with Markus and Sam
The USATF Junior Outdoor Championships will be video streamed on USATF.TV, which requires a paid subscription.

Meanwhile, the USATF Senior Outdoor Championships' video streaming coverage requires a paid subscription to the NBC Sports Gold package.

Live results will be available throughout both meets in Sacramento, courtesy of Flash Results.

Weather Report
Extremely hot, sunny conditions are expected in Sacramento on both Thursday and Friday. Thursday's high temperature is forecasted to approach 110 degrees, with Friday's high topping out around 105.

About the Facility
Hornet Stadium, which seats 21,195, played host to the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials and is currently bidding to host the 2020 Trials. Most recently, Hornet Stadium served as the venue for the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships.

Event Information
The 2017 USATF Junior Outdoor Championships are open to U.S. citizens who are at least 14 years old on the date of competition but who will not turn 20 during 2017. Most of the meet's entrants are high school seniors and college freshmen.

The top two finishers in each event at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships will be invited to represent Team USA at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships, scheduled for July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru.

Meanwhile, the 2017 USATF Senior Outdoor Championships will see the nation's top athletes attempt to qualify for the 2017 IAAF World Championships, slated for Aug. 4-13 in London, United Kingdom.

The top three finishers in each event in Sacramento will earn a spot on Team USA provided they have met the event's qualifying standard. For the men's 10K, the standard is 27:45.00. Chelanga achieved the standard automatically, by virtue of his 11th-place finish at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.

Event Capsules (Organized Chronologically)
Junior Decathlon
Event Schedule: Day One – Begins Thursday at 2:20 p.m. Eastern, Day Two – Begins Friday at 12:45 p.m. Eastern

Liberty Competitor: Markus Ballengee (Fr., Moneta, Va.)

How He Got Here: Ballengee is the No. 3 seed in the decathlon this week, thanks to his personal-best score of 6,840 at the Virginia Challenge, April 21-22 in Charlottesville, Va.

Ballengee has performed well at championship meets during his first year at Liberty, including a runner-up finish in the Big South heptathlon and third-place showings in the IC4A heptathlon and Big South decathlon.

Some of Ballengee's top marks as a college freshman include 8.35 in the 60 hurdles, 14.76 in the 110 hurdles, 22-3.5 in the long jump, 6-6 in the high jump and 14-7.25 in the pole vault. In Sacramento, the hurdles will be three inches shorter than college hurdles, while the shot put and discus will both be lighter than college implements.

Ballengee has not competed since high jumping on the final day of the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, May 12 in Charleston, S.C.

Field Breakdown: Eight decathletes are expected to compete in Sacramento, topped by Texas freshman George Patrick. He did not complete a decathlon for the Longhorns this season but finished third in the Big 12 heptathlon with a score of 5,482 points. Patrick tallied a career-high 7,493 points for fourth place in the decathlon at the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships.

A rising senior at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa., Kyle Garland has enjoyed a successful month leading up to the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. He scored a career-best 6,959 points at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Havana, Cuba and then high jumped 7-2 at an AAU District Qualifier.

Jake Spotswood of McGill-Toolen High School dominated the Alabama state decathlon competition with a personal-best score of 6,853 points. He will compete for the Alabama Crimson Tide next season.

Finally, Arkansas State freshman Hayden Hampton was the 2017 Sun Belt decathlon runner-up thanks to his personal-best score of 6,745.

Senior Men's 10K
Event Schedule: Final – Thursday night/Friday morning at 12:09 a.m. Eastern

Liberty Competitor: Sam Chelanga (Class of 2011, Colorado Springs, Colo.)

How He Got Here: Chelanga will return to the track after focusing on cross country and road races throughout the first part of 2017. He will attempt to qualify for Team USA on the track for the first time, after making his debut in the red, white and blue at the 2017 Great Edinburgh XCountry Challenge and IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Chelanga paced Team USA with an 11th-place finish at the World Cross Country Championships, earning an automatic qualifying standard in the 10K for the 2017 IAAF World Track & Field Championships. The 32-year-old Chelanga is one of only six Americans who currently possess the standard, entering the race in Sacramento.

Chelanga, sponsored by Nike, will look to improve upon his sixth-place finish in the men's 10K at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and claim one of the three berths to the IAAF World Championships in London.

Chelanga's best year of 10K running to date came in 2010. He set the still-standing NCAA men's 10K record of 27:08.39, which still marks his personal best. Chelanga then went on to win the men's 10K by 18 seconds at the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Field Breakdown: All three of Team USA's men's 10K representatives at the Rio Olympics are entered in Thursday night's race, including Galen Rupp and two of Chelanga's training partners (Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir).

Rupp is the clear pre-race favorite. The men's 10K silver medalist from the 2012 London Olympics owns the American record (26:44.36) and has won eight consecutive U.S. men's 10K national championships. He is just two months removed from a runner-up finish in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

The only six runners who own the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard include Chelanga, Rupp, Korir, Kipchirchir, Hassan Mead and Chris Derrick. The first three finishers among them in Sacramento will qualify for London, unless someone else both defeats them in Sacramento and clocks a sub-27:45 10K between now and July 23.

Chelanga raced against each of the other five top contenders during his highly-decorated collegiate career, which featured four NCAA Division I national titles (two cross country, one outdoor 5K, one outdoor 10K) and 14 All-America honors. Their alma maters include Oregon (Rupp), Iona (Korir), Oklahoma State (Kipchirchir), Minnesota (Mead) and Stanford (Derrick).