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Anumba, Barbas win shot put in Chapel Hill

Michelle Anumba won her first competition of the spring, taking first in the shot put at the UNC Invite.
Michelle Anumba won her first competition of the spring, taking first in the shot put at the UNC Invite.

The Blue Devils continued posting record-breaking performances this past weekend as they split to send their multi-event athletes to the Penn State National Invitational and their throwers to the UNC Invite.

Junior Michelle Anumba‘s first-place finish in the shot put at Chapel Hill, though, stood apart from the rest.

This past weekend was Anumba’s first competition of the season, but after several weeks of practice coming off winter break, she was ready to get back into the ring.

“I was definitely a little bit nervous,” Anumba said, “but that first throw helped me get rid of some of those nerves, and I felt more confident as the competition went on.”

Part of that confidence was a result of the fact that Anumba is no stranger to first-place finishes. Last season, the junior thoroughly proved herself to be capable of holding her own in tough competition as she shattered multiple school records. Another part of her confidence came as the result of assistant coach B.J. Linnenbrink’s advice and training.

“He told me ‘You are what you think,’ and that was pretty much it,” Anumba said. “I made the focus of the meet not only winning but being confident, doing what we practiced and not forgetting what was important.”

Her teammates also took that advice to heart and used it to their advantage. Senior Michael Barbas, who competed in the men’s side of the shot put, also posted a first-place finish with his throw of 17.22 meters.

The Blue Devils took top spots in several other events and saw a number of multi-event athletes earn top-10 finishes at Penn State. Karli Johonnot, who opened her season with a second-place finish in the high jump two weeks ago, won the pentathlon with a total of 3,802 points, the second-best performance in Duke history. Her teammates Miray Seward and Teddi Maslowski took sixth and ninth in the event, respectively, while on the men’s side freshman Ian Rock took fifth in the heptathlon.

On the track, sophomore Lucas Talavan-Becker took second in the 3000m, leading classmate Alec Klassen and junior Joseph Elsakr, who crossed the line in seventh and eighth, respectively. The men had a strong showing in the 600m as well, with Henry Farley taking second place overall, Kyle Moran coming in three spots behind and Matt Marriott finishing sixth.

On the women’s side, LaCresha Styles continued Duke’s streak of success in the 60m hurdles, where she finished in fifth, while her teammate Hannah Goranson took fourth.

In just one week, the Blue Devils will be flying to New York for the Armory Collegiate Invitational, the toughest meet so far this season, but with their first few competitions out of the way and several top finishes to boost their confidence, the athletes are already eager to take on new challenges.

“I know there’s so much in the tank,” Anumba said. “I can do better. I’m capable of so much more. So I’m kind of excited to see where this season will go.”

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