After receiving their new and improved ranking as first in the region, the Blue Devils stepped up to the line at the ACC meet this past weekend and proved they deserved it.
Duke left the meet in high spirits after a strong effort put them in second place as a team.
“We’re really pleased with the weekend, the girls ran well,” head coach Kevin Jermyn said. “Juliet [Bottorff] did great. When she races, she races so well, especially in the bigger meets. She continues to maintain great composure.”
Bottorff was the frontrunner for the team yet again this weekend, leading the Blue Devils with a finish in 20:10.6. When she crossed the line to earn her third-place spot, she also earned All-ACC honors for the third time in her collegiate career.
When sophomore Kelsey Lakowske followed Bottorff across the line just 13.1 seconds later, it was somewhat of a surprise. Although Lakowske had shown that she was capable of strong results in Wisconsin, she had missed a number of other meets and this past weekend marked only her third career race. Despite her lack of experience, Lakowske showed she was more than capable of rising to the challenge as she crossed the line second for Duke and sixth overall. Like Bottorff’s, Lakowske’s finish earned her All-ACC honors.
“I’m very happy with how she’s racing,” Jermyn said. “And she continues to get better.”
Shortly after Lakowske’s finish, senior Madeline Morgan followed her across the finish line leading a pack of three runners—sophomore Carolyn Baskir, graduate student Suejin Ahn and senior Ashley Brasovan. Baskir came in 20th overall with a time of 21:00.4 and Ahn followed less than two seconds later. Brasovan rounded out the pack with her personal-best time of 21:06.8. Junior Jessie Rubin came in 51 seconds later in 44th, leading classmate Gabby Levac who came in 61st. Junior Dana Morin and freshman Olivia Anderson closed out the race for Duke, coming in 65th and 76th, respectively.
Although frontrunners such as Bottorff and Lakowske certainly helped the team along to their top-two finish, according to Lakowske even individual success has its basis in team support.
“It always helps to have teammates that are so talented and experienced,” Lakowske said. “[Their support] really makes coming into these meets... a lot easier for me. I’m really grateful to have them to run with because they inspire me to keep going, to train hard, to make the right decisions.”
Lakowske and her teammates will have just two weeks to train before their appearance at the NCAA Regional meet. After their success at the ACC meet, though, the Blue Devils are looking forward to the chance to race again, albeit with more at stake.