For the men, it was something that an ACC team hadn’t been able to do since 1981. For the women, a team that hailed from south of Virginia hadn’t accomplished it for the past 27 years. But despite the odds, this past weekend the Blue Devils found themselves making history yet again, as they took home team titles at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meets.
Through the combined efforts of the Blue Devil men, the team was able to finish with a total of 74.5 points, almost 14 points ahead of George Mason University, which finished in the No. 2 spot. The Duke women were almost equally dominant, earning 83.75 points, 8.75 more than second place Connecticut. The wins marked Duke’s first dual meet win in school history.
According to director of track and field Norm Ogilvie, the victories were a true team effort, with athletes from all years contributing both on the track and in the field.
“I’m really proud of everyone,” Ogilvie said. “The highlight of the meet was the way everyone pulled together and we got contributions from all areas.”
On the men’s side, there were several individual highlights as well. The IC4A meet got off to a successful start with senior Ryan McDermott’s win in the steeplechase. His time of 8:46.68 earned ten points for the Blue Devils, who then took the lead and never looked back. In the field, freshman Tanner Anderson stepped up to the championship challenge as well, finishing first in the high jump. Curtis Beach earned the third, and final, individual title for the Blue Devil men by winning the long jump.
While these athletes were the only Duke men with first-place finishes, many others earned points for the team by placing in the top eight in their respective events. In the field, senior John Austin threw the javelin 69.05 meters to take second place and junior Tony Shirk tied for seventh in the pole vault. In the shot put, Shirk’s classmate, Michael Barbas, took third, while Austin Gamble and Mike Schallmo took second and fifth, respectively, in the discus.
On the track, Josh Lund, Bo Waggoner, and Michael Moverman took fifth, sixth, and eighth in the 5k race, respectively, while junior Josh Brewer took sixth in the 10k run. In the 4x800 meter relay, Matt Marriott, Sean-Pat Oswald, Domenick DeMatteo, and Stephen Clark worked together to take the seventh-place finish and earn an extra two points for their team.
In the ECAC meet, the Blue Devils also saw several examples of individual success. Juliet Bottorff, Carly Seymour, and Andrea Hopkins, as well as the 4x800 team of Kate Van Buskirk, Esther Vermeer, Rebecca Craigie and Gabby Levac, all took first place in their respective events.
Bottorff won the 3k race, while freshman Madeline Morgan finished seconds later in third. Seymour ran to her first-place finish in the 5k race, followed by junior Suejin Ahn in eighth place. Unlike her teammates, Hopkins earned her title in the field, where she threw 47.13 meters in the javelin.
Duke athletes also saw great results on the track in the 800-meter race, where Cydney Ross took second, and the 3000-meter steeplechase in which Emily Schwitzer was runner-up. And in the 1500-meter run, Vermeer was back putting even more points on the board with her fifth-place finish. Meanwhile, in the field, both Emily Mattoon and Michelle Anumba joined Hopkins as Mattoon finished seventh in the pole vault while Anumba took third in the shot put.
While the team wins put Duke in the history books, according to Ogilvie, their main advantage is their effect on the athletes’ mentality.
“It gets everyone thinking they can win,” Ogilvie said. “A lot of [track and field] is believing in yourself…. They’ll definitely have a certain level of confidence that wasn’t there before.”
And heading into their last few meets, the Blue Devils will look to use all the confidence their record-breaking performances have amassed to bring their outdoor season to a strong finish.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.