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Blue Devils prep for postseason at Duke Invite

After weeks of competing on the road, the Blue Devils brought the competition home this past weekend for the Duke Invitational.

True to form, several Blue Devils broke personal records at Wallace Wade and still more took top-five finishes as well. Since the ACC outdoor championships are rapidly approaching and available spots on the roster are highly contested, some of the athletes faced the added incentive of competing their way into one of the team’s 60 available slots.

Senior Carly Seymour earned the Duke women one of their two first-place finishes as she took the top spot in the Sally Meyerhoff 3000m—an event created to commemorate Meyerhoff, a Duke alumna who passed away Mar. 8, 2011 in a bicycle accident—with a time of 9:33.74.

The other first-place finish on the women’s side came in the field, where Erica Brand threw the discus 50.77m to take the title, a full 2.08m farther than N.C. State’s Brittany Hampton second-place effort.

“[The throwers] looked pretty good, and everyone is getting very, very consistent,” assistant coach B.J. Linnenbrink said. “With consistency comes even bigger throws and more personal records.”

The remainder of Duke’s top finishes came as the men stepped up to compete. On Friday, junior Domenick DeMatteo stepped on the track to run his first 5000m race, looking to break 14 minutes and qualify for NCAA regionals. DeMatteo ran a 13:50.22 in his long-distance debut, leading his teammate Andrew Brodeur, who took fourth with a time of 14:01.58.

“A 5k is the longest event on the track I’ve ever run, and I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it,” DeMatteo said. “But I think I’m right where I want to be at. I’m feeling very fresh and feeling good at races and also getting very good training in.”

Freshman Shaun Thompson also showed that he was just where he needed to be this past weekend as he competed in the 3000m steeplechase. The freshman broke the nine-minute barrier with his time of 8:58.48 and led his teammate Domenick Robinson across the finish line. Thompson’s time stands out when compared to that of Duke’s former steeplechase All-American Ryan McDermott, who did not break nine minutes his entire freshman year.

The next first-place finish on the track came from junior Curtis Beach, one of Duke’s two most recent track and field NCAA champions. Beach ran the 800m in a time of 1:47.99, finishing over a second in front of the rest of the field.

Duke’s 4x800m team wrapped up the last of the wins on the track. Stephen Clark, Brenden Pierson, Kyle Moran and Nate McClafferty finished with a time of 7:39.44 to take the top spot.

In the field, Justin Amezquita and Michael Barbas brought in two more wins for the Blue Devils. Amezquita’s 5.00m mark in the pole vault earned him the top spot in his event, while Barbas threw 17.43m for his title.

Many of the other Duke athletes who competed at Wallace Wade earned top-five finishes in their events and took down personal records. With tougher competitions in the near future, these success have lent the Blue Devils even greater confidence as they get ready to compete at the ACC outdoor championships in less than two weeks.

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