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5 Blue Devils finish in 1st place at home invitational

With 200 meters left in the 1,500-meter run, Nick Schneider had just surrendered his lead for the first time in the race. But the senior came out of the curve for the last 100-meter stretch sprinting faster than his competition. In the last 10 meters, Schneider regained the lead for a 3:47.09 victory in his last meet at Wallace Wade.

“It was my last 1,500 on this track, and I’ve always done well on this track,” Schneider said. “Because I was in lane two I was going faster. By the time I got to where the curve ends, I was running faster and we were going the same distance. I usually wait until 200 meters left and then throw everything I’ve got into it and hope I make it to the finish line.”

The largest ever Duke Invitational this weekend produced five first-place finishes for the Blue Devils in what head coach Norm Ogilvie called a “smashing success.” The five titles are the most by the Blue Devils in the invitational’s history.

Freshman Chris Spooner also ran in the men’s 1,500, placing third with a time of 3:47.54. The race featured tough competition with the top eight finishers qualifying for NCAA Regionals.

Shannon Rowbury also claimed first in the 1,500-meter race with a regional qualifying time of 4:17.12. With one lap to go, Clara Horowitz, the rabbit for the race, dropped back and left Rowbury and North Carolina’s Erin Donohue fighting for the top spot. Rowbury sped past Donohue before the last turn for the win.

Meghan Leon, Liz Wort and Lauren Matic placed sixth, ninth and 11th and all qualified for NCAA Regionals.

Debra Vento successfully defended her title from a year ago in the high jump, tying for first with a jump of 1.75 meters Friday. With poor weather and a rain delay, the conditions were not optimal for jumping, and Vento came up short of setting the meet record.

Freshman Jade Ellis earned another spot in the Duke record books with a long jump of 7.52 meters to earn first place. Ellis’ jump bests the old outdoor record by a quarter inch and meets a regional qualifying mark. He also placed second in the triple jump with a leap of 15.22 meters.

Fellow freshman Diana Pucurs was the last Blue Devil winner on the weekend as she claimed first in the javelin with an ECAC qualifying mark of 42.39 meters. It was her second win of the outdoor season.

In the women’s 800-meter run, Matic finished third with a regional qualifying mark of 2:08.94. Although Matic was not in the top heat, she won the second heat with a time that bested all but two in the top heat.

Rowbury ran in the first heat of the women’s 800 but lost her shoe from a collision during the race and ran the last 500 meters with one shoe.

“Shannon is in great shape, but it was just one of those happenstance things,” Ogilvie said of Rowbury’s finish.

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