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4x400 team breaks Blue Devil record

Just one event after the United States' 4x400 relay team broke the indoor world record, the Blue Devils set a record of their own.

For the third weekend in a row, the Duke track and field team broke a school record. This weekend, the men's 4x400-meter relay smashed a nine-year-old Duke mark at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

"It was a breakthrough performance for them," associate head coach Kevin Jermyn said. "Setting a school record is huge."

The previous record time, set in 1997, was 3:17.51, and the Blue Devils surpassed that mark by more than a second, running a 3:16.17.

The Duke squad started off with freshman Nick Trombold running a 48.9 first leg, followed by junior Matt Danforth clocking a 49.7 split. Sophomore Brett Morrell followed with a 49.8 leg, and junior Dan King anchored the relay with a 47.7.

The time qualified the men for IC4As and earned them a 12th-place finish in the event.

Junior Debra Vento placed fifth in the high jump with the 10th-best performance in the country this season, clearing 5-10.75 feet. It was the third time she reached the NCAA provisional height this season.

"It was by far her best performance of the indoor season," Jermyn said. "She looked stronger than she has this year, and she came away from the meet feeling very positive."

The automatic qualification height for the NCAAs is six feet, which Vento attempted three times.

"She came really close on all three tries, and on one she just nipped the bar with the back of her heels," Jermyn said. "Debra's performance was definitely the highlight of the weekend."

Sophomore Chris Spooner also had a career-best performance in the mile, running a 4:08.69. Spooner's time was Duke's best of the year and the second best time in the ACC this season.

"Chris had a great race, and since he ran a 4:10 last weekend, this time was really a big [personal record] for him," Jermyn said.

In the women's 800-meter, freshman Molly Lehman qualified for ECACs with a time of 2:13.12 and placed 11th. Right behind her was junior Lindsay Owen, who finished in 14th with a season-best time of 2:13.52.

In 20th place, freshman Jessica Davlin won her heat in the 800, but just missed the ECAC qualifying mark by a tenth of a second.

Duke will be on the road again next weekend for the Virginia Tech Invitational and will travel back to Blacksburg, Va. the following weekend to compete in the ACC Championships.

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