Duke will send 70 athletes to the Vertklasse Meeting in High Point, N.C., this weekend and begin to narrow its roster for the upcoming ACC Championships.
The name of the meet plays off the name of the Vert Track and the Weltklasse meet in Zurich—one of the first large-scale international track and field competitions outside of the Olympics. First established in 1928 and held annually in August, the meet attracts top athletes from around the globe—the “world class” from the German “Weltklasse”.
Just an hour away from home, the Blue Devils will compete in High Point’s “first-class” meet.
“It will be good for us to go in there and assert ourselves,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “Duke should be able to win a lot of the events.”
With the ACC Championships just two weeks away, this weekend will be an opportunity to tune up and gain confidence for conference competition.
The Blue Devils enter the meet after a strong showing at the Texas and Raleigh Relays last weekend. With strong performances from the men’s distance runners and two-meet undefeated streaks for javelin throwers Thomas Lang and Christine Streisel, Duke will look to build momentum this weekend rather than focusing on past success.
“We are still coming off an emotional high from last weekend,” Ogilvie said. “We will have to guard against that and put last weekend behind us. We have to compete in the present to the best of our ability.”
Weather will also be a significant factor for the Blue Devils this weekend since many of them have not competed in warm and sunny conditions yet this year. Last week’s competitions gave a few Duke athletes a taste of sunshine before conditions deteriorated later in the weekend, leading to wet tracks and muddy fields.
“One of the big factors for us is going to be sunscreen,” Ogilvie said. “Everyone is looking forward to it being sunny this weekend, but we have to learn to compete outside again.”
The Blue Devils took home eight first-place finishes at the Vertklasse Meeting last year, with strong showings in the field events. Senior Erica Brand recorded the top mark in the discus with a throw of 165 feet, 9 inches and finished second in the shot put behind teammate Michelle Anumba.
Senior Tanner Anderson won last year's men’s high jump with a clearance of 7 feet, 1 inch, and sophomore Megan Clark cleared 13 feet, 2 1/4 inches in the pole vault—a mark she exceed by more than a foot at the Carolina Relays in March.