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Ballengee to Make Team USA Debut at Thorpe Cup

July 25, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ballengee to Make Team USA Debut at Thorpe Cup

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News & Advance Feature on Ballengee

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Liberty's Markus Ballengee will wrap up a lengthy sophomore season with his second international competition in a week. He will make his Team USA debut at the 25th Thorpe Cup, Friday and Saturday at Tom Black Track in Knoxville, Tenn.

After battling through injury to claim a decathlon bronze medal at the inaugural FISU America Games on Saturday and Sunday, Ballengee will be one of seven Team USA decathletes who will compete against seven counterparts from Germany in Knoxville. He is the first Liberty decathlete ever to take part in the Thorpe Cup.

Friday's events begin at 5 p.m., while Saturday's competition will get underway at 3:30 p.m.

How to Follow the Thorpe Cup
Live results are expected to be available during both days of competition in Knoxville.

Admission to Tom Black Track is free of charge for both days of the Thorpe Cup.

Weather Report
The weather is expected to be warm for the Thorpe Cup, with partly cloudy skies and high temperatures in the upper 80s in the forecast for Knoxville this weekend.

What is the Thorpe Cup?
The Thorpe Cup is an annual multi-event competition between Team USA and Germany, featuring both decathlon and heptathlon events. In the decathlon, each team's top five competitors' scores are added together and the nation with the highest total score is the victor.

Team USA leads the all-time series, 14-10, but Germany has won seven of the last eight decathlon competitions. Team USA was victorious the last time the meet took place in the U.S., winning the 2016 event in Fayetteville, Ark.

The meet, which was first held in 1993 in Aachen, Germany, is named for 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe. A total of 17 Olympians have competed in the Thorpe Cup over the years.

The heptathlon was first contested at the Thorpe Cup in 2006. Danielle (McNaney) Detmer, a 2005 Liberty graduate, competed for Team USA at each of the first four Thorpe Cups. She scored a team-high 5,475 points at the inaugural edition in 2006 in Manhattan, Kan., leading Team USA to victory. Detmer will be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame in September.

With this being the 25th edition of the Thorpe Cup, members from the inaugural 1993 meet will be on hand, including U.S. Olympians Aric Long, Chris Huffins and Kip Janvrin.

Ballengee Breakdown
At age 20, Markus Ballengee is the youngest of the 14 decathletes who will be competing in Knoxville. He is one of five 2018 collegians selected for the meet, along with Team USA teammates Charlie Card-Childers (Rice), Timothy Ehrhardt (Michigan State) and Derek Jacobus (Arkansas) and Germany's Florian Obst (Texas A&M-Commerce).

Team USA's roster also features an ASUN Conference connection in Kennesaw State volunteer assistant Solomon Simmons. Steven Bastien and Tim Wunderlich round out the squad for the red, white and blue.

Ballengee will be competing in the ninth decathlon of his career, including four in the last two months and two in the last week.

The native of Moneta, Va., began his busy stretch at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 6-7 in Eugene, Ore. Ballengee scored a career-best 7,722 points to finish seventh and earn first team All-America honors.

Two weeks later, Ballengee earned his trip to the Thorpe Cup on the strength of his performance at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. He placed fifth at the meet with a score of 7,511.

Most recently, Ballengee suffered injury during the opening event (100-meter dash) of the FISU America Games decathlon, Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He ended up claiming a bronze medal in the competition and set a new discus personal best (144-7) on day two.

Ballengee will be taking one final shot at the Liberty all-time decathlon record this season. Brandon Hoskins' mark of 7,800 points has stood since the 2008 Texas Relays. Ballengee's current personal-best marks in the 10 decathlon disciplines add up to a potential score of 7,979 points.

Ballengee's 2018 competition season will draw to a close after opening six months ago (Jan. 26-27) at the Liberty Kickoff, where he posted a breakthrough heptathlon score of 5,523.