After a strong showing in the NCAA East Regional, the Blue Devils sent 10 athletes across the country to compete on the national stage and returned home with seven All-Americans.
Duke’s qualifying athletes traveled to Eugene, Ore., Wednesday and Thursday for the NCAA championships at historic Hayward Field. Freshman Katelyn Gochenour was one of two Blue Devils to finish in the top 10, securing sixth place in the javelin throw.
“The highlight was Kate Gochenour,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “She’s been very consistent throwing 51 meters all spring, and then today she had the breakthrough, 52, 53 and 54 meters, so really great job on her part."
Although her first two throws put her near the back of the pack, Gochenour moved into the top nine with a strong third throw and smashed a school-record on her fifth throw with a toss of 178 feet, earning first-team All-American honors. She was the only freshman to finish in the top 10 in the event.
The Logan, Iowa, native was also the only Blue Devil to earn points in the team competition, putting Duke on the board with three. Competing with the freshman in the javelin was senior Christine Streisel, who took 18th with a toss of 161 feet, 6 inches.
Gochenour was not the only member of Ogilvie’s team to nab All-American honors.
Senior Madeline Kopp wrapped up a transition from the sprints her first three years to the 800 meters this season just five-hundredths of a second from qualifying for the finals. Kopp had the seventh-fastest time in the semifinals at 2:04.79, but came in third in her heat and was the first runner out of the finals. The finish was still enough for her to receive second-team All-American honors.
"She hang her head high by competing really tough in what’s really a new event for her," Ogilvie said. "She had never run an 800 until about four months ago, so relatively a newcomer to the event, she did really, really well."
Just an hour after Kopp's individual race, she ran with junior Maddy Price, sophomore Mackenzie Kerr and sophomore India Lowe in the 4-x-400-meter relay semifinals, helping the Blue Devils to a 16th-place finish at 3:37.25 and second-team All-American honors.
In the decathlon, graduate student Daniel Golubovic started slow, ending day one of the event in 22nd place out of 24 competitors. However, the Los Angeles native came back on day two with a monster performance in the field events, notching top-10 finishes in the discus, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500 meter events to conclude his career in 11th place as a second team All-American. The graduate student finished the day with 7,634 points—the second-highest point total in program history.
“He was a fifth-year grad student just competing with us for the one year, but he did a great job," Ogilvie said. "He won the ACC title.”
Duke notched another All-American accolade in the women’s pole vault. Junior Madison Heath cleared 13 feet, 7 1/4 inches to take 13th and second team All-American honors. Also competing with her was freshman Laura Marty, who took 17th with a clearance of 13 feet, 1 1/2 inches.
Although the Blue Devils will be missing the likes of Golubovic and senior Connor Hall—who finished 20th in the pole vault—next year, up-and-coming talent, especially on the women's side, bodes well for the future.