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Blue Devils split full squad for weekend of competition

Duke will send nearly all of its athletes to compete at meets in Virginia and New York this weekend.
Duke will send nearly all of its athletes to compete at meets in Virginia and New York this weekend.

The Blue Devils will send 20 athletes to the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York, and 50 athletes to the Virginia Tech Elite Meet in Blacksburg, Va.

As the season progresses, director of track and field Norm Ogilvie focuses on giving each athlete an opportunity to compete against the strongest field possible.

“We are trying to send every athlete we have to the best possible meet,” he said. “This will be a big weekend for almost everybody on the team. Both events will have good facilities with a banked 200-meter track. We are excited to get on it and improve upon our times.”

The Armory Collegiate Invitational will feature strong competition for the men in the long-distance and middle-distance events, especially from Oklahoma and Wisconsin—presenting the first challenge Duke has faced this indoor season.

Junior Nate McClafferty enters the meet looking to extend two-meet win streak in the mile. The trio of graduate student Mike Moverman, junior Shaun Thompson and senior Brian Atkinson are seeded second, fourth and fifth in the 3,000 meters, respectively. The Blue Devils’ distance medley relay is seeded first, with less than four seconds separating the top five teams in the field.

With many of the best teams in the ACC competing, the meet in Blacksburg boasts strong athletes in the remainder of the indoor events—the lone exceptions being the pentathlon and heptathlon, which will not be featured in this weekend's competition.

This meet will provide tough competition for sophomore Meghan Clark, who was named ACC Co-Performer of the Week after breaking former Olympian Jillian Schwartz’s school record in the pole vault. At the last of her three wins this season, Clark posted the 10th-best clearance in the nation at 14 feet. This weekend she will face Martina Schultze of Virginia Tech, who earned third place at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year.

With the first few weeks of competition complete, the first United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll was released last week. The women entered the list at No. 31 and the men at No. 35. Both teams fell back in this week’s poll after competing in the Penn State Invitational and JDL Fast Track Meet with only a handful of athletes. The women now sit at No. 35 and the men at No. 36.

Despite the shuffling in rankings that occurs at the beginning of every season, Ogilvie is pleased with the results of the first poll.

“In the beginning of the year, the polls are very dynamic, the data changes a lot week to week and there’s not a lot to go on, so there will be a lot of movement,” he said. “That being said, it’s the first time for our program that we’ve had both the men’s and women’s teams ranked in the top 35 in the same week.”


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