Day One of Thorpe Cup Favors U.S.

MANHATTAN, Kan. The United States used strong performances by Mustafa Abdur-Rahim and Lela Nelson to take the lead over Germany in both the decathlon and heptathlon in the first day of the 2008 Thorpe Cup at the R.V. Christian Track Complex.


Both Abdur-Rahim, with 4,184 points, and Nelson, with 3,518, lead the individual events after day one, while the U.S. men lead in the decathlon with 20,380 points to Germany’s 20,248.


The USA women took the overall team lead in the fourth and final event of the day in the heptathlon as a strong finish in the 200-meters propelled the women to a 10,370-10,357 advantage.


Abdur-Rahim, the defending champion in this competition, moved from fourth place to the top of the standings after his 47.77 performance in the final event of the day, the 400-meters. The Dartmouth product also finished second in the long jump, which was perhaps the most competitive and entertaining event of the day, with a leap of 7.44m on his last try.


Jake Arnold of the U.S. squad is close behind Abdur-Rahim with 4,161 points. Arnold’s day was highlighted by a second place finish in the shot put with a mark of 15.17m.


On the women’s side, Nelson took the lead individually in the heptathlon after running a 24.16 in the 200, which was her top performance in the event since the 2006 USA vs. Germany heptathlon. Nelson leads Germany’s Maike Goldkuhle, 3,518-3,487, heading into the final day.


Nelson also took first in the 110-meter hurdles to start the competition after clocking a 13.46, which was just shy of her 13.45 heptathlon personal best mark set at the USATF Championships back in 2006. Goldkuhle placed first in the shot put with a throw of 13.75m to stay within striking distance of Nelson overall.


Germany’s Christine Schulz took the high jump with a clearance of 1.76m as she enters the final day of competition in third place overall with 3,484 points. Liz Roehring of the United States had a solid showing in every event and is currently in fourth place overall with 3,467 points.


Also, current Kansas State assistant coach Tom Pappas, who will represent the U.S. Olympic Team later this month in China, made an appearance Saturday and worked out at the complex.


The 2008 Thorpe Cup will conclude on Sunday, with first action taking place at 1 p.m. at the R.V. Christian Track Complex.