Bearkat tennis player Imke Jagau will compete for Namibia at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China, in August.
Matt Johnson from the track and field team has been selected as one of three intercollegiate competitors on the seven-man United States team for the 17th Thorpe Cup to be held August 13-14 at the USA Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.
Jagau, who played number one singles and number three doubles for the Bearkats as a true freshman last spring, is from Windhoek, Namibia.
"It is a huge honor to compete for your country as an athlete," Jagau said. "Also I'm very happy and excited to compete in China. This is going to be a great opportunity for me to keep improving my game. I'm excited to experience their culture, the place, the food, basically just experience it all."
Jagau totaled 15 singles victories and 16 doubles wins in both dual match and tournament competition as a Bearkat freshman in 2011.
In July, she paired with former All-Southland Conference Bearkat Peta Taylor to win the doubles championship at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Summer Circuit event in Abilene.
"Imke has been working hard on her game this summer and it's great to see her experience success," Sam Houston head coach Jim Giachino said. "Playing in an international competition such as the World University Games is such a wonderful opportunity for her."
Athletes competing in the World University Games must be at least 17 and less than 28 years of age on January 1, 2011. In addition, they must not be out of a university or its equivalent for more than a year.
Opening ceremonies will be held August 11, and the closing ceremonies will take place August 23.
An international business major who earned Southland Conference Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selection with her 3.37 grade point average, Jagau was ranked as the number one junior in Namibia. She participated in the African Junior Championships in both 2007 and 2008, reaching the quarterfinals. She won the 2009 Namibian club championship singles and doubles.
While Johnson won't be traveling to the other side of the globe, the competition in the Thorpe Cup also will present the Bearkat decathlete with a unique opportunity.
"We will be training and competing at the U.S. Olympic Training Center near San Diego, one of the top track and field facilities in the world" Johnson said. "To work at the center and compete with some of the top decathletes in the sport is such a thrill."
The Cup event, named in honor of track and field legend Jim Thorpe, is a track and field duel between the USA and Germany.Teams are made up of eight men and eight women who compete in the decathlon and the heptathlon, respectively.
In the combined events competition, athletes receive a predetermined number of points based upon their performances in each of the events. The top five men's and top three women's scores are added together to determine the overall team wings.
"The fact that our individual scores will be added together for one team total brings a whole new dimension to this competition," Johnson said. "You can't afford to let down in any of the events because you'll not only hurt yourself, you will let down your teammates. It's going to be exciting."
The 2011 Thorpe Cup marks the seventh time the competition has been held in the United States. The American team has won the Cup 11 times including victories in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
"This is an outstanding honor and opportunity for Matt," Sam Houston head track and field coach David Self said. "He will be competing with some of the top decathletes in the world."
Johnson, a junior from Port Neches Groves, became the fourth Sam Houston Bearkat men's competitor to earn NCAA Division I track and field All-America honors in June with a 14th place finish in the men's decathlon at the NCAA Championship in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I've competed with several of the guys on the American squad at the NCAA and USA Track Meets. I think we're really going to have a stacked USA team," Johnson said. "We'll also will be attending several special events including a Padres baseball game."
The decathlon consists of the 100 meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meter run, 110 meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meter run.
Other members of the USA squad for the Thorpe Cup are Mille Moss, Chris Randolph, Mark Jellison, Nick Adcock, Matthew Clark and Detmar Joe.
"We'll all head to San Diego on August 10," Johnson said. "This is going to be a big thrill for me."