After testing his abilities against some of the world’s best athletes, sophomore Curtis Beach returned from New York with three new personal records.
For Beach, the meet was an unforgettable experience. He was able to compete against Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay, defending heptathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, NCAA record holder in both the decathlon and heptathlon Trey Hardee and U.S. decathlon champion Jake Arnold. Before the Millrose Games, Beach had stated that his dream of being a top competitor in the world of track and field had begun at an early age. Last Friday, part of that dream came true.
“Ever since I was in in middle or high school I looked up to these guys,” Beach said. “To actually be there with them was pretty remarkable.”
As a collegiate athlete, Beach’s presence at the meet was impressive in itself, and expectations were not high. Despite finishing last overall, however, Beach was able to keep within a reasonable distance of these top athletes and even managed to beat a few in one of the events. He placed second in the high jump, earning the same number of points as the overall winner Ashton Eaton, and setting a new indoor personal record. In other words, at least in one event, Beach was able to beat Hardee, Arnold and Clay.
“I knew where everyone stood going into the event, so I expected to perform well in the high jump,” Beach said. “But to do better in an event than the defending Olympic world champion was kind of cool—it was fun.”
And according to Beach, his ability to focus on just enjoying himself made the meet so memorable. Due to his relaxed mindset, and the motivating presence of his impressive competitors, Beach successfully pushed himself to a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles and the shot put, in addition to his indoor personal best in the high jump.
Looking back on the competition, Beach noted that one of the most valuable things he takes away from the experience was a new sense of perspective.
“I think the biggest thing is just making the first priority to enjoy the experience,” Beach said. “I think that helps you relax and compete very well just putting it in perspective…. If you don’t perform well that’s okay. The biggest reason I did well was because I made a point to have fun.”
Other members of the Duke team spent the weekend competing in the Kent Taylor-UNC Run for the Kids Invitational in Chapel Hill. For them, it was another successful weekend as several athletes set personal and school records.
Sophomore Michelle Anumba was one such athlete as she managed to shatter the previous school record in the shot put by approximately three feet, while senior David Piccirilli’s performance in the weight throw was the second best in Duke history.
“We did pretty well,” senior Amy Fryt said. “It was a pretty small meet, and we sent mainly just sprints and jumping, so I think we did well overall given the number of people.”
The Blue Devils were not present in full force however, as some athletes spent this weekend resting and training for their upcoming meet, the Armory Collegiate, in New York this weekend.
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