Liberty's Markus Ballengee brought his successful and lengthy sophomore season to a close with a 14th-place finish in his Team USA debut at the Thorpe Cup decathlon, Friday and Saturday at Tennessee's Tom Black Track. Competing in his second decathlon this week and battling a hamstring injury, Ballengee scored 6,151 points, headlined by a personal-best 146-3 discus throw.
The 25th edition of the Thorpe Cup saw Team USA's Steven Bastien claim the individual decathlon title with 7,980 points. However, Germany won the decathlon team competition for the eighth time in nine years, as its top five competitors outscored their Team USA counterparts, 38,915 to 37,902.
The first Liberty decathlete ever to compete in the Thorpe Cup and the youngest competitor in this year's field (20 years old), Ballengee produced a 3,391-point opening day on Friday. His most notable mark on day one was a season-best 21-11.75 long jump.
On Saturday, Ballengee produced a discus personal best (146-3) for the third consecutive meet. The mark ranked third among the 14 decathletes and moves Ballengee up to No. 2 on Liberty's all-time decathlon discus list.
Ballengee failed to clear a bar in the pole vault, ending his chance at his fourth 7,000-point decathlon of the season. However, he competed until the end, finishing with the fourth fastest time (4:44.84) in the meet-closing 1,500-meter run.
Ballengee's sophomore campaign was headlined by his seventh-place finish in the NCAA Division I decathlon final, earning him first team All-America recognition. He also came in fifth in the USATF decathlon and earned a bronze medal in the inaugural FISU America Games decathlon.
During the 2018 indoor season, Ballengee won the IC4A heptathlon title with a Liberty, Big South, meet and facility-record 5,537 points.
Up Next Liberty junior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata will represent the host nation of Colombia at the Central American and Caribbean Games. He is entered in the men's 400-meter dash and 4 x 400 relay at the meet which will begin Sunday at Roberto Melendez Stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia.
The men's 400 semifinals are slated for Monday at 8:24 p.m. Eastern, with the final set for Wednesday at 9:05 p.m. Eastern. The men's 4 x 400 relay will wrap up the meet on Thursday at 8:55 p.m. Eastern.
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