Blue Devils set 3 program records in weekend competition
Duke’s middle- and long-distance runners earned third place in New York, and their teammates turned in a number of top-five performances in the unscored meet in Blacksburg, Va.
With less than a month left before the ACC Championships, the Blue Devils look to finish the short indoor season as strongly as they started it.
“As a combined program, this is probably our best first month ever,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “We have had great team success… There are lots of good things happening.”
Redshirt senior Curtis Beach opened competition for Duke by adding his name to the school record list a fifth time in the 500 meters. With a time of 1:01.50, Beach bested the previous school record by nearly two seconds and earned the Blue Devils’ first individual win at the Armory Invitational.
The trio of long distance runners Shaun Thompson, Mike Moverman and Brian Atkinson all finished in the top five in the 5,000-meter championship in New York. Thompson led the field, finishing first in a time of 14:03.15—the fifth-fastest time ever run at that meet. Moverman and Atkinson followed close behind the junior, crossing the line in third and fourth, respectively, behind Abbabiya Simbassa of Oklahoma.
Capturing first place in the mile for the third consecutive meet, junior Nate McClafferty ran a strong final 200 meters to cross the line just ahead of Jacob Burcham of Oklahoma with a time of 4:09.26.
Sophomore Michal Filipczak knocked down another Duke record in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.24. His effort earned him a sixth-place finish in the event in a strong field, with the difference between second place and sixth place spanning less than a second.
“For the men to place third in a truly national-caliber invitational is great for us,” Ogilvie said. “We just competed like heck against athletes from all over the country and held our own. Nate McClafferty winning the mile was, to say the least, unexpected. It was just a great finish.”
The Blue Devils also turned in two more first-place finishes at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet, competing against some of the top athletes in the ACC.
Freshman Haley Meier earned the first individual win of her collegiate career in the mile with a time of 4:49.00. Senior Christian Britto won the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 14:36.69.
Duke’s top performer of the meet was again sophomore Meghan Clark. Clark continued to improve in the pole vault, breaking the school record she set last weekend with a new best clearance of 14-3 1/2. With last week’s performance, she was ranked 10th on the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“She’s coming into her own, and she’s going to be very, very good,” Ogilvie said. “Coach Wilbourn has done a great job working with her. This weekend, she had two excellent attempts at an even higher height, so she’s not done by any stretch.... The ACC title is going to be very competitive.”
The Blue Devils have set at least one new school record every weekend so far this indoor season.
“Hopefully this won’t stop,” Ogilvie said. “With consistent, good conditions indoors, you could theoretically see that every weekend where you wouldn’t outdoors. As the program gets better, obviously the records are getting tougher and tougher, but hopefully we aren’t in any way peaking at this point.”