Nwaba and Fleming Shine in Thorpe Cup

Nwaba and Fleming Shine in Thorpe Cup

Marburg, Germany-Picking up right where she left off in Sacramento at the USA Championships, former Gaucho All-American Barbara Nwaba put on a show, winning two events while leading Team USA to victory in the Thorpe Cup. Nwaba scored 6205 points while recording the second best heptathlon point total of her career. Nwaba won the high jump and shot put to highlight one of the best first day totals in the world at 3817 points. UCSB Assistant Coach Annett Fleming was the top finisher for Team Germany, finishing fourth overall. Fleming scored 5847 points and delivered a big individual event performance of her own on the second day.

Held in the small city of Marburg, the Thorpe Cup has blossomed into an annual festival for the decathlon and heptathlon. The Thorpe Cup started in 1993 and has since seen numerous World Championship and Olympic competitors take the starting line. It is a decathlon/heptathlon dual meet between USA and Germany. This years meeting was held on Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27.

The stands at George Gasmann Stadium were usually packed throughout the weekend except for the times the crowd wandered out onto the infield to get a closer look at the field events. Each attempt in the jumps and throws was accompanied by a consistent rhythmic clap. The German announcer called the results for the local athletes and spectators in German and without missing a beat switched to English for the call for the Americans. The first day started with each delegation walking out with a giant country flag. After the meet introductions a concert band on the field played each country's national anthem.

A mix between rock and dance music filled the gaps thereafter. During the meet, the announcer was especially energetic calling out Barbara's name as he yelled through the microphone, Barbara "NAAA-BAAAA!!"

Nwaba responded magnificently. The seven disciplines of the heptathlon are the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m on the first day and long jump, javelin and 800m on day two. Her marks were the following:

13.67, 6.0.25, 45'9, 23.99, 18'4, 144'9, 2:14.09

Individual Event Win  

Fleming was consistent throughout the two days and put up the third best score of her career. As the men were finishing up the pole vault on the opposite end of the stadium the heptathletes were starting the javelin late in the afternoon on day two. On her first throw, Fleming threw 162'4/49.39m to win the event and break the meet record. The announcer quickly took notice and the crowd began to shift over to where the women were competing. Fleming's last throw was a respectable 161 feet and earned her a nice applause from the knowledgeable crowd. For their individual event wins, Nwaba and Fleming received an award on the podium.

Fleming's marks were:

14.28, 5'8.25, 44'7, 26.08, 18'2, 162'4, 2:15.13

Individual Event Win

Nwaba and Fleming combined to finish one-two in the shot put and javelin throws.

On Monday after the competition, both squads participated in a city tour followed by a team building canoe trip down the river Lahn.