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Blue Devil track and field hosts Duke Invitational

Duke will host one of its two home track meets of the year this weekend at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Duke will host one of its two home track meets of the year this weekend at Wallace Wade Stadium.

The Blue Devils will host a field of more than 1,000 athletes this weekend for the Duke Invitational at Wallace Wade Stadium.

This weekend’s invitational is one of just two home events the Blue Devils will offer this season. With athletes hailing from 50 institutions, this weekend’s invitational serves as the Blue Devils’ premier opportunity to showcase their talent to a home crowd.

“We only have two home meets a year, the Duke Invitational and the Duke Twilight Meet,” Duke head coach Norm Ogilvie said. “This is certainly the bigger of the two and a chance for our kids to compete in front of other students…. I think they really get up for it.”

The invitational will host programs mostly from across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, including North Carolina, N.C. State, Elon, Maryland and West Virginia, among others.

The event will kick off Friday at noon with the women’s javelin throw on East Campus and the men’s hammer throw at Wallace Wade Stadium, where freshman Michael Foley will look to improve upon his personal best throw of 185 feet, four inches at the Raleigh Relays a week ago.

The track events will start at 3:30 p.m with the women’s 400-meter hurdles at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Friday’s action will include the opening heats for both the men’s and women’s 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs, featuring some of the best distance runners in the region. Senior Mike Moverman, fifth-year senior James Kostelnik, juniors Brian Atkinson, Phil Fairleigh, Spencer Pecha and Lucas Talavan-Becker and freshman William Hague will lead the way for the men in the 5,000.

The field events will kick off Saturday’s action at 9 a.m. with the women’s long and high jump. Junior Justin Amezquita will compete in the men’s pole vault, following a personal best of 17 feet, one inch at the Texas Relays, less than two inches away from the school record set by Brent Warner in 2004.

On Saturday, the track events will begin at 10 a.m. with the women’s and men’s 800-meter relay.

The women’s 800 features one of Duke’s most promising distance runners, All-America honoree Cydney Ross, a senior. The last time Ross ran this race was at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in early March, when she finished in sixth place and set a new school record with a time of 2:04.52.

Saturday’s meet will not just focus on the current Blue Devil athletes, though. The meet will feature three alumni teams competing in a 4-x-400 meter relay Saturday. The teams will be comprised of Duke track and field alumni from the Class of 2010, Class of 2012 and a third team composed of alumni from multiple classes.

“That’s fun for those guys to come back and relive the glory days a little bit, and certainly have them getting excited about the guys on the team now,” Ogilvie said.

With alumni in town and home fans providing extra motivation, the Blue Devils will continue to build and prepare for the upcoming NCAA Outdoor Championships in May.

“I would say that Duke is the premier program in this meet,” Ogilvie said. “We’re having a great year and we certainly look to do really well here.”

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