Racing without their top runner, the Blue Devils settled for a third-place finish at the Furman Cross Country Classic.
Furman dominated the race as the host team, and High Point edged out Duke by one point to take second, leaving the Blue Devils 6-2 against the Division I teams competing Saturday.
“We have to give credit to Furman, who ran really tough and got the win on their home course,” head coach Norm Ogilvie said. “We should have beaten High Point. We let our guard down. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be, and I thought we could have performed a little bit better.”
Fifth-year senior Mike Moverman did not compete because he was observing Yom Kippur, leaving room for his teammates to move up in scoring positions. Junior Phil Farleigh stepped up as Duke’s second man, finishing ninth overall in a time of 24:14. Freshman Stephen Shine finished as the fourth man in his first collegiate 8,000-meter race, turning in a time of 24:31 and a 16th-place finish.
“Going into the meet without our No. 1 man is tough, but we had some good surprises,” Ogilvie said. “Phil Farleigh ran that 8K probably better than he had ever run before, and Stephen Shine ran a really good race.”
Most of the Duke runners turned in personal best times on the Furman course, as did the athletes on other competing teams, leading the coaches to agree that the course was slightly short.
Senior Brian Atkinson came within 10 seconds of his personal best time. Racing as the Blue Devils’ top runner, Atkinson opened his season with a sixth-place overall finish in a time of 24:08.
“We were hoping he could run well enough to win, but sometimes when you haven’t raced for a while, you have to get the rust off a little bit,” Ogilvie said.
Duke outscored its ACC opponents Georgia Tech and Clemson, who scored 70 and 153, respectively, but couldn’t keep pace with Furman and High Point. With each team’s first five runners across the line factoring into the score, the Paladins solidified their victory by finishing four runners in the top 10 and turning in an overall score of 35.
Although Duke’s fifth man—senior Lucas Talavan-Becker—finished ahead of High Point’s fourth man, the Blue Devils could not overcome the point gap created by the first- and third-place finishes by the Panthers' Patrick Crawford and Jeff LaCoste.
“We’re not pushing the panic button or anything,” Ogilvie said. “We have been training very hard, and we were a little tired going into the meet. This was not a great day for us, but an OK day for us. We’ll be ready when it really matters. When we have to run 10,000 meters, we’ll be ready to face the best teams.”