Markus Ballengee breaks UA decathlon record, places 7th in Olympic Trials



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EUGENE, Ore. – Razorback junior Markus Ballengee produced another set of stellar performances during the second day of the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Trials to break the Arkansas school record in becoming the first Razorback to ever score over 8,000 points.

The final tally of 8,097 points placed Ballengee seventh overall among the 18 who were part of the Olympic Trials field, moving up seven places from his first day 14th place position.

Ballengee achieved the career best score 10 days after earning a bronze medal at the NCAA Championships in the same venue, when he improved from 10th to third place on the second day.

Erich Sullins, the first thrower with ties to UA to compete in the hammer at the Olympic Trials, placed ninth with a toss of 229-11 (70.09), missing by just one inch of having an opportunity of three more throws with the top eight throwers advanced to the final three rounds.

Ballengee broke the previous school record of 7,955 points set in 2012 by Kevin Lazas and improved his own previous PR of 7,895 points, set earlier this season, which ranked him third on the UA all-time list.

In becoming the fifth Razorback to compete in the Olympic Trials decathlon, Ballengee matched the second best placing. Charles Baker finished seventh in 1948 while Herman Bagby placed fifth in 1924.

After setting a career best first day score of 3,982 points, Ballengee produced a second day PR score of 4,115 to better the 3,976 he produced in his previous career best total score to win the John McDonnell Invitational. During the NCAA Championships Ballengee scored 3,912 on the second day.

Starting day 2 with the 110m hurdles, Ballengee ran 14.49 for 912 points and moved into 12th place. Then a career best discus throw of 174-0 (53.04) produced 934 points as Ballengee topped the field by 16 feet. The discus performance also moved Ballengee up to No. 7 on the UA all-time list ahead of Tony Ugoh (172-1) and had Ballengee in eighth place.

A vault of 16-6 ¾ (5.05) scored 926 points as Ballengee improved his outdoor best in the event while matching his indoor best. Ballengee moved into sixth place with two events remaining and remained in that spot following a 179-9 (54.78) javelin that picked up 660 points.

In the final event, a time of 4:39.55 over 1,500m collected 683 points to cap Ballengee’s school record tally and determine his seventh place position.

Sullins opened with a 222-7 (67.85), then threw his best mark in round two, and finished with a 226-5 (69.01).

Rudy Winkler defended his 2016 title and did so in record fashion. First, he broke the Olympic Trials record set in 1992 with a heave of 264-11 (80.75). Then he took down the American record set in 1996 with a launch of 271-4 (82.71).

Lance Deal held the previous records and gave Winkler a hug after the American record mark. The previous Trials record of 262-10 (80.12) was held by Jud Logan while Deal held the previous American record of 270-9 (82.52).

Monday’s action at the Olympic Trials will have Andrew Irwin contesting the final of the pole vault at 3:30 p.m. PT (5:30 CT).

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