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Ellis hits Duke jumping mark

The track team rested standout runners Shannon Rowbury and Nick Schneider but sent a handful of other performers to the Carolina Fast Times meet. Meanwhile, a select few athletes were invited to the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., one of the nation’s premier events.

“We wanted to limit out distance runners because of the upcoming ACC meet,” head coach Norm Ogilvie said. “We wanted to make sure they are fresh for next weekend.”

Freshman Jade Ellis set a new outdoor school record in the triple jump at Mt. SAC, as he leapt to a second-place finish with a jump of 51-2.75 feet. Ellis was second only to Jaanus Uudmae from Arkansas, which has produced the most triple jump champions in NCAA history. Competing with the nation’s elite leapers, Ellis fouled on four of his five jumps, which Ogilvie said is indicative of the freshman’s nerves.

“Today was huge because he was going against a field that he will see at nationals, and to take second and not freak out is really big,” Ogilvie said.

Junior Laura Stanley had a breakout race in the 5,000-meter run, posting a time of 16:16.64, which ranks as the fourth best performance in Duke history. Stanley started the race in the back of the pack but kept a consistent pace. In the last mile, she moved up 10 positions into 10th place and finished fourth among collegians.

“She ran a conservative race early which helped her in the end,” Ogilvie said.

In the high jump, Debra Vento faced the stiffest competition of any of the Duke athletes in a field that included former Olympians Chanute Howard and Amy Acuff. All of the competitors cleared the 5-10 opening height, but Vento was not able to clear the next mark at 6-0. In two of her attempts, she nearly cleared the height but clipped the bar with her ankles.

“They’re in a super elite field,” Ogilvie said of Ellis and Vento’s competition. “It is very much an honor for those athletes to be in that group. Hopefully they will be inspired.”

At the Carolina Fast Times, Ronnie Drummer sprinted the 100-meter dash in 10.85 seconds in the first outdoor meet of his career. His time is the fourth-fastest time in Duke history and qualified him for the IC4A Championships May 13-15. Drummer also teamed with Brett Morrell, Jabari Marshall and Justin Kaviar in the 4x100-meters for a time of 42.97 despite a costly handoff miscue.

“That’s a great start for him in his first meet,” Ogilvie said of Drummer, who is also on the football team. “That 4x100 looks like they could qualify this weekend if they get clean handoffs.”

The women’s throwers also had a successful weekend at the Carolina Fast Times as Beth Maher’s javelin throw of 132-2 was the best of the meet and an ECAC-qualifying mark. Fellow sophomore Kelly Reynolds earned second in the hammer throw with a toss of 173-3.

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