Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
Head Coach Darcy Ahner poses with Team USA in Germany.

Darcy Ahner to Serve as USA Heptathlon Head Coach in 2019 Thorpe Cup

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. – University of California San Diego women’s track and field head coach Darcy Ahner will add another event to her tremendous resumé upon being named the head coach for the USA Heptathlon team in the 2019 Thorpe Cup.

The 26th annual meet will be hosted by Bernhausen, Germany on Sept. 14-15. The venue for the contest has alternated almost every year between U.S. and German soil, with last year’s encounter located in Knoxville, Tenn. 

The Thorpe Cup was originally an international decathlon competition between the United States and Germany beginning in 1993 and welcomed the talent of eager second-tier, developing athletes. The heptathlon joined in 2006 and the foreign encounter officially coined it’s name in 2007 in honor of the first Olympic champion decathlete, Jim Thorpe. 

Founded by German decathlon head coach Claus Marek and USA decathlon head coach Harry Mara, the shared tradition has uplifted numerous contestants to Olympic opportunities and honors. 

Entering her 13th season as head coach at UC San Diego, this is only Ahner’s latest national team assignment. She carries prior experience overseas, having served as an assistant coach for the Thorpe Cup in 2018. She was also part of the USA coaching staff for the Track and Field Pan Am Combined Events Cup in 2016 (Ottawa, Canada) and the Paralympic Team in 2008 (Beijing, China). 

“I am excited to see what this year brings,” said Ahner. “Germany has been such an exceptional and gracious host and the rivalry and comradery between the German and U.S. team is second to none.”

Each team at the Thorpe Cup is composed of seven men and seven women in which points are determined based on performance. Ahner's athletes will undergo a standard heptathlon contest: 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and 800. She looks to lead the U.S. to consecutive team wins and an 11th overall having placed first in 2018 with a total score of 17,828 points.

“It is such a great honor to represent the USA Thorpe Cup team as the heptathlon coach for my second year,” Ahner added. “Last year’s Thorpe Cup heptathlon was very exciting as the U.S. trailed after the high jump and took the next five events to catch up and take gold.”

A standout heptathlete herself, Ahner set school records in the high jump and javelin at New Mexico. Honored as the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Athlete in 1989 and conference heptathlon champion in 1988-89, it is no wonder she has landed such a prestigious position to represent the red, white, and blue. 

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