Season kicks off in Blacksburg

In its first meet this season, Duke will head to Blacksburg to compete today and tomorrow in the Virginia Tech Invitational against 20 of the region’s elite teams.

And for most athletes on the team, this will be their first chance to compete since September.

“This weekend will be our first look at our athletes,” Director of Track and Field Norm Ogilvie said. “We are anxious to see our freshmen and hurdlers especially”.

One of those freshmen, Tanner Anderson, who set the North Carolina state record in the high jump during his high school career, will try to break another record this weekend. Duke’s current record for the high jump stands at 6-feet-10.75, but, according to Ogilvie, Anderson could raise it to seven feet.

The Blue Devils also have several reigning ACC champions returning this year, including senior Ryan McDermott, a distance runner who won the 3000-meter steeplechase in both 2009 and 2010. Senior Amy Fryt, ACC individual champion in pole vault for two consecutive years, also competes this weekend.

Sophomore Curtis Beach, world record holder in the men’s heptathlon 1,000-meter run, looks to use this meet to polish his already-impressive skills. Beach will use the Invitational to prepare for next weekend’s Millrose Multi Challenge in Madison Square Garden, where he will compete against athletes such as Olympic decathlon and World Indoor heptathlon gold medalist Ryan Clay, and heptathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton.

For the rest of the team, this weekend will show how they perform against six other conference opponents.

“We just want to make our mark in each event,” Ogilvie said. “At the end of the year only the best athletes will get to compete in the NCAA Championship, and it starts counting this weekend.”

Both the men’s and women’s 4x800 are expected to place well at the Invitational, as are the distance medleys on both sides. In addition to seeing where they stand this weekend, Duke athletes have another goal in mind. In two weeks, they head off to New York to compete, and there are a limited number of spots on the plane. This weekend presents a chance for the athletes to prove that they deserve one of those spots.


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