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Duke builds steam for ACCs

Junior Amy Fryt finished second in the women’s pole vault, part of a stellar effort by the Blue Devils at the annual Duke Invitational.
Junior Amy Fryt finished second in the women’s pole vault, part of a stellar effort by the Blue Devils at the annual Duke Invitational.

Despite competing against 1,500 athletes from more than 50 schools, several Blue Devils found a way to distinguish themselves at the annual Duke Invitational Friday and Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.

“We probably had the most successful Duke Invitational in the program’s history,” head coach Norm Ogilvie said.

The individual performances of junior Devotia Moore in the women’s 800-meters and redshirt junior John Austin in the men’s javelin played a large role in Duke’s overall impressive showing at the meet.

Moore finished first in the 800 with a personal-best time of 2:06.34. She was one of six Blue Devils to finish in the top 15, and her time is currently the second-best mark in the NCAA East region.

Austin turned in an equally dominant effort in the javelin, breaking his own school record with a throw of 69.27 meters. The 2008 All-American picked up his third straight Duke Invitational victory and improved upon his old record by over half a meter.

Austin’s new personal best catapulted him into the top spot in the NCAA East region. He has launched the javelin one foot and three inches further than anyone else in the region this season, and he has a whopping 13-foot lead over the next-best ACC thrower.

Sophomore Austin Gamble also had a breakout performance in a throwing event this weekend—in his first time in a Duke track and field uniform. The linebacker who recorded eight tackles in the football team’s spring game March 27 proceeded to break the school record in the discus with a throw of 53.45 meters, good for a second-place finish. Thanks to his record-setting toss, Gamble now leads the ACC in discus after only a single meet.

Factoring in sophomore Michael Barbas’s fourth-place finish in the shotput and freshman Andrea Hopkins’s first-place finish in women’s javelin, Ogilvie said he feels good about his throwers’ chances at the conference championships.

But the field events were not the only ones where the Blue Devils made their presence felt this weekend.

The women took first, second and fourth place in the 1,500-meter run, and the men grabbed second, third and fourth in the 5,000-meter run behind Andrew Brodeur’s personal-best time.

The Blue Devil men also closed out the meet on a high note, winning Saturday’s last event, the 4x800-meter relay, by almost ten seconds.

If Duke can build on these strong performances across the board, it may have a chance to make history at the ACC Championships beginning April 15.

“Our goal is to a get a top-half finish in both the men and the women at ACCs,” Ogilvie said. “And that’s never been done before.”

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