This past weekend the majority of the Blue Devils headed to Blacksburg, Va. to compete in the Virginia Tech Elite Meet, with just three—Juliet Bottorff, James Kostelnik and Brian Atkinson—heading to Seattle, Wash. instead. In each location, the Duke athletes proved that they were up to the competition, taking wins in several events and breaking a couple of school records along the way.
Bottorff headed into the 5km race hoping to run a time that would earn her qualification for the NCAA Indoor Championships, looking to take advantage of the faster track and strong competition available at the Classic. Although whether or not she succeeded in qualifying will not be completely certain until closer to the Championship meet when other results come in, Bottorff is confident she accomplished her goal.
“I’m [feeling] really good in general,” Bottorff said. “It went as well as I could have hoped, getting second in a meet like this is very good in terms of [qualifying for] nationals, historically. Being second bodes well for getting into nationals and the time… has always made it into nationals.”
Bottorff crossed the line in a personal best of 15:52.38, breaking the school record set by Clara Horowitz in 2006. She finished shortly after Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, an NCAA Champion.
“The Husky Classic has, for the last few years, produced fantastic distance results,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “Often runners will go out there and [set a new personal record] by a bunch and it gives an opportunity… to get to the NCAA Championships. That strategy worked for two of our runners—James Kostelnik ran a lifetime best in 8:07, Juliet Bottorff not only ran a lifetime best, she set the school record, 15:52, that’s a phenomenal time. That time that Juliet ran should… hold up for a berth in the NCAA Championships.”
Kostelnik’s success came in the 3km race, where he finished in sixth. Kostelnik moved well into the lead with under 500m to go, putting about 30 meters between himself and the rest of the pack. Before he could finish, though, he was caught. Despite that, Kostelnik’s time was still good enough to bump him up to fourth on Duke’s all-time list.
Atkinson competed in the 5km race on the men’s side, finishing in 29th overall with a time of 14:24.41.
In Virginia, several Blue Devils posted top performances as well.
On the men’s side, sophomores Brian Schoepfer, Kyle Moran and Nate McClafferty and freshman Michal Filipczak put their best efforts together for a win in the distance medley relay, running the fastest time in the ACC this season in the event—9:54.56. Just the day before, Filipczak had joined fellow freshman Tommy Meister and sophomore Henry Farley in the 800m race, where they took fourth in 1:52.78, fifth in 1:53.09 and sixth in 1:54.01, respectively. All of the runners set personal records and Meister’s time was good enough to give him a chance to run for Duke in the upcoming Millrose Games.
Several other Duke men excelled in their events as well, including sophomore Stephen Boals, who took fifth in the shot put with his throw of 55-7.75, a personal record as well as what is now the fifth place mark on Duke’s all-time list.
Michelle Anumba took on the shot put for the women, logging a season-best 54-5.25 and taking second. Other field athletes took top spots as well, including senior Emily Mattoon and freshman Megan Clark who took third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault with their vault of 12-7.5 and tied for the fifth spot on Duke’s all-time list.
On the track, senior Ashley Brasovan took a first place spot in the 5km race with her time of 17:19.63, coming back after a long bout with injuries to cement her first collegiate win. Classmates Dana Morin and Sophia Ziemian finished shortly afterwards, taking third and fifth, respectively.
In the 800m, senior Cydney Ross matched Brasovan’s success with her first-place finish in a personal best time of 2:07.43. Ross took the lead early on and led the pack as she ran her way into the third spot on Duke’s all-time list. She was quickly followed by freshman Anima Banks, who took second in 2:09.21. Abby Farley crossed the line just after Banks, coming in sixth with her personal record time of 2:09.96.
With less than two weeks until the ACC Championships, the athletes are eagerly looking ahead and encouraged by their success.
“I’m looking to improve upon my time at ACCs,” Ross said. “I want to focus on running fast and hopefully contending for All-ACCs or a championship title…. I’m really excited to compete.”