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3 Blue Devils earn All-American

Shannon Rowbury, Paige Miller and Debra Vento earned All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Championship March 12 at the University of Arkansas.

“It was our best national meet ever and a good cumulation of our indoor season,” assistant coach Kevin Jermyn said.

Rowbury, who had been named ACC Most Valuable Performer and Southeast Regional Runner of the Year a week earlier, placed second in the mile with a time of 4:39.02.

She started the race conservatively and ran within the lead pack. Without a clear leader for the first two laps, Nebraska’s Anne Shadle surged ahead and did not surrender her advantage. Shadle, edging out Rowbury by less than a second, ran a personal best and set a school record in the event.

“Nobody wanted to take the lead in the first couple of laps,” Rowbury said. “[Shadle] took the lead and kept dropping the pace. I tried to move up on her on the back stretch, but I didn’t make my move soon enough. It is really hard to overtake [another runner] on the banked curves.”

A day earlier at the championships, Vento’s high jump of 5-10.75 earned her a seventh place finish. The sophomore cleared each of the first four heights and was tied in first place. Although her multiple attempts at the next height were close, she narrowly missed advancing. Vento, a sophomore, is the youngest Duke women’s field athlete to earn All-America honors.

Miller, in her last indoor race of her Duke career, ran to a sixth place finish with a time of 9:26.43 in the 3,000-meter race while teammate Sally Meyerhoff placed 13th with a time of 9:37.22 in the event.

The race featured pushing and shoving as the lead pack started out slowly. As a result of the physical race, Stanford and Villanova runners fell and both Meyerhoff and Miller had to hurdle over them.

Miller and the lead pack picked up the pace after 10 of the 16 laps, leaving Meyerhoff and other runners behind. Meyerhoff was still feeling the effects of a hamstring injury from earlier in the season.

“It became a very physical and tactical race,” Jermyn said. “[Miller] kicked really well.”

Meyerhoff teamed up with Meghan Leon, Alison Stankavage and Lauren Matic in the distance medley relay. The group placed 10th with a time of 11:26.10. Leon and Stankavage started their respective 1,200- and 400-meter legs of the race strong but could not hold on to their leads. The relay team raced the last two legs in 10th place without close competitors.

The Blue Devils began the outdoor season Friday at the Tar Heel Opener, highlighted by the women’s throwers. Freshman Diana Pucurs, in her first collegiate meet, set the school record in the javelin with a throw of 42.7 meters. She finished first in the event and automatically qualified for both the NCAA Outdoor Regionals and ECAC Outdoor Championships. Teammate Beth Maher took second place in the javelin with a mark of 39.71 meters.

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