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Duke begins outdoor ACC championship

Yesterday, the Blue Devils travelled to Charlottesville, Va. in anticipation of the outdoor ACC championship meet. Today, after weeks of preparation and successful performances, Blue Devil throwers, distance runners and multi-event athletes will step up in hopes of starting the meet on a high note for Duke.

On the men’s side, junior Curtis Beach will look to add yet another title to his resume as he opens the competition for Duke in the decathlon. Beach, who has already earned both an NCAA Indoor and ACC heptathlon title will face tough competition from Florida State’s Gonzalo Barroilhet, who competed in the 2008 Olympics for Chile and has already shown his proficiency in the decathlon this season.

Beach, however, is focused on making it to the Olympics himself, and will have to use the increased competition to push himself toward an Olympic A Standard. The top three athletes who reach that mark in the trials automatically qualify.

“I just want to do the best that I can and get the Olympic A Standard of 8200,” Beach said.

Some of his teammates, including Ian Rock, Terrence Neal, Miray Seward and Teddi Maslowski will be joining Beach in the multi-events today, while others, such as Michelle Anumba , who also took a title at the NCAA Indoor meet, will compete in the hammer throw. Thomas Lang, Austin Carpenter and Zach Robertshaw will also be representing Duke in the field today as they compete in the men’s hammer throw.

The 10000m will start off the running events later in the evening, as senior Andrew Brodeur, junior Joseph Elsakr and sophomore Brian Atkinson step onto the track to compete.

On the women’s side of the same event, junior Juliet Bottorff, defending NCAA outdoor champion, will be making her 10000m debut. Her teammates, seniors Carly Seymour and Mary Carleton Johnston and juniors Megan Deakins, Ashley Brasovan and Kayla Hale will join her in the event.

In the following days of the meet, there will be several other Duke athletes hoping to gain top finishes in their respective events. Anumba, who will go on to compete in the shot put, has hopes of taking that title in the field, while sophomore Erica Brand hopes to join her in earning a top spot as well.

Senior Amy Fryt, like Anumba, is also looking to take the top spot in her field event, the pole vault. Fryt was unable to compete in the last season’s ACC meet due to injury, and is eager to close out her final year at the top, alongside her teammate Emily Mattoon who will be competing in the same event. In the javelin throw, defending ACC Champion Andrea Hopkins will be joining her teammate Shannon Sullivan as both Blue Devils compete for the top spot. On the men’s side, sophomore Justin Amezquita will be the only Duke athlete in the pole vault, while junior Michael Barbas will look to mirror Anumba and place well in the shot put in his final ACC meet.

On the track, Domenick DeMatteo, Brendan Pierson, Brian Schoepfer and Nate McClafferty will enter the 1500m trials in hopes of making it into the final rounds. DeMatteo has been consistently posting strong performances throughout the season and proved that he could handle longer distances on the track as well when he competed in and won the 5000m at the Duke Invitational.

Freshman Shaun Thompson, who will enter the ACC meet as the No. 2 seed in the 3000m steeplechase, will race alongside teammate Dominich Robinson as both athletes look to cross the finish line in the lead and possibly take home the title.

On Saturday, seniors Stephen Clark and Caleb Duncanson, along with sophomore Matt Marriott and freshman Kyle Moran will compete in the men’s 4x400m relay, while on the women’s side, senior Brittany Whitehead and freshmen Elizabeth Kerpon, Alexis Roper and Lauren Hansson bring the meet to a close as they compete in the same event.

“We have a ton of great athletes,” director of Track and Field Norm Ogilvie said. “There’s a lot of excitement and a little bit of nervousness, but for the most part people feel prepared and ready to go.”

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