Former prep track stars to represent USA at Thorpe Cup
By Randy Angel
The best all-around athletes are considered to be the track and field stars winning combined event competitions. For men, it is the decathlon and on the women’s side, the heptathlon.
Beginning with Jim Thorpe, who won the first decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, gold medalists have become household names throughout the United States.
Decathletes Bob Mathias, Rafer Johnson, Bill Toomey, Bruce Jenner and Dan O’Brien along two-time heptathlon gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersey made names for themselves after becoming champions.
Striving to get their opportunity to compete on the Olympic stage are two former local high school athletes who each placed sixth at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 22-25 in Sacramento.
Their performances earned Dan Golubovic (Mira Costa, 2012) and Allison Reaser (El Segundo, 2010) spots on the USA team competing in the Thorpe Cup, where seven athletes from each nation will participate in the decathlon (men) and heptathlon (women) July 20-30 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Golubovic competed in the pole vault, high jump, triple jump, and long jump at Mira Costa before attending UC San Diego, where he transitioned to the decathlon.
He was a 2016 NCAA Division 2 All-American with a sixth-place finish his senior year and, with a year of eligibility remaining after redshirting as a freshman, Golubovic competed at Duke University (Division 1) this season while studying for his Masters Degree.
He was the Atlantic Coast Conference Decathlon Champion and his 7,717 points at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships was a personal best, marking a 578-point improvement over last year and a 217-point improvement from the beginning of this season.
He also recorded personal records in the 100 meter, 1500 meter and high jump events. Other events include the long jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin, 400 meter and 110 meter hurdles.
“The USA (event) was an absolutely amazing experience, and qualifying for the Thorpe Cup is almost surreal,” Golubovic said. “Competing with the best guys in the U.S. was awesome and despite the heat, excitement was through the roof. I was ranked fifteenth of 18 going into the meet, so finishing sixth was definitely on my radar, but more of a reach goal.
“I can’t thank my coach Shawn Wilbourn enough, and my parents (Dan and Darcy) as well, who have been to every decathlon I have competed in.”
Golubovic hopes to compete at the World University Games in August.
“This year was meant to be a building year in preparation for my next few years of competition, and build we have,” Golubovic added. “But we have a lot of room for improvement and a lot of work to do to get there; such is the nature of the Decathlon.”
Reaser is a heptathlon veteran who competed in the summers during high school after leading El Segundo in the 100 meter, 100 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles and long jump.
She was the Junior Olympics National Heptathlon Champion in 2010 before attending San Diego State, where she was a five-time All-American and the 2014 NCAA Division 1 Heptathlon runner-up her senior year.
Reaser, who trains at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, recorded 5,830 points at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship while running a personal best in the 200 meter dash. Other events include the 100 meter hurdles, 800 meter, high jump, long jump, javelin and shotput.
“I am honored to make my fifth U.S. national team, but am more blessed that I took sixth place at Sacramento,” Reaser said. “This is my highest placing ever at a senior nationals, and although the goal is to always place top three, I am happy because I know I have a lot more in me and many more years of track and field competitions.”
This year marks the third time Reaser has competed on the U.S. Thorpe Cup team, and is hoping to amass more than 6,000 points while earning individual and team titles.
“The Thorpe Cup is one of the coolest meets that I have ever taken part in,” Reaser said. “The Germans are so nice, and after that completion is over, there is a big party and celebration. This will be my last meet of the season so I’m looking forward to ending my season with a bang.”
The Thorpe Cup began in 1993 with the two strongest nations in the decathlon meeting head-to-head. The heptathlon was added in 2006.