UA coach, former athlete lead USA team in 15th Thorpe Cup

Aug. 2, 2008

UA Assistant Coach Sheldon Blockburger will lead a squad of American decathletes this weekend as they compete against Germany in the 15th Annual Thorpe Cup in Manhatten, Kan. on Saturday and Sunday.

Blockburger, who serves as the jumps and multi-events coach at the UA, will serve as the head coach for the team as it looks to continue it's four meet winning streak against the Germans in what has always been a closely heated battle between the two countries.  The top five scorers from each country will have their marks added together and the winner will be selected based upon the high score.  Team USA currently leads the match-up, winning 11 of the first 14 contests.

Former UA stand-out and two-time NCAA decathlon champion Jake Arnold will highlight the American squad this year.  Arnold comes off of a fourth place finish at this year's U.S. Olympic Trials with a final tally of 8130 points, falling just short of making the Olympic team. 

The meet is considered one of the most, if not the most important international decathlon competitions.  Named after the 1912 Olympic Decathlon Champion, Jim Thorpe, the meetings of the two countries began in 1993 in Aachen, Germany.  The USA has, for lack of a better word, dominated the competition as far as the win-loss record is concerned.  However, many of the meetings have been decided by very small margins and nothing can be taken for granted heading into this years meet.

Blockburger, an accomplished multi-event athlete during his competition career holds the world record in the indoor pentathlon with 4,453 points while also capturing the Southereastern Conference (SEC) decathlon championship in 1986 with a meet record total of 7,737 points. 

Blockburger's coaching resume continues to impress, having lead an athlete to an individual national championship during each of the past four seasons.  He will look to add another highlight the his feats by leading the U.S. team to victory this weekend.

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