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Duke track earns victories in New York and Iowa

The Blue Devil relays dominated both meets, taking first in the women’s distance medley relay at the Iowa Classic and first in the men’s 4x800 meters in the Millrose Games.
The men’s team sent only four athletes to compete in the single relay event in New York. Villanova’s relay team entered the competition as the favorite team to win, but Duke was able to take and hold on to an early lead with freshmen on the first two legs.

“The guys ran extremely well wire to wire,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “We never trailed in the race although Villanova made a valiant effort. But we ran tough and fast. Each guy contributed to the team victory. It was a gutsy race, and they never backed down.”

Dylan Murphy led off for the Blue Devils with an 800-meter split time of 1:54.11, passing the baton to Alec Kunzweiler. Kunzweiler turned in a split of 1:52.9, and his teammates continued to pick up the pace and extend Duke’s lead.

Junior Nate McClafferty stayed out in front of Villanova for his first lap and dramatically increased his lead in the second half of his leg, negative splitting his 800 meters by five seconds and clocking in at 1:53.9. Sophomore Michal Filipczak anchored the winning relay with a personal-best split of 1:49.2.

The Blue Devil’s final time of 7:30.06 was more than a second faster than Villanova’s, making it the fourth-fastest time in Duke history and one of the fastest times in the nation this year.

“I think the order was really good with our two freshmen up front, and then our more experienced guys to bring it home,” Ogilvie said. “Dylan is familiar with the New York Armory since he ran there all through high school, so we though he would be a good choice to lead off. The freshmen got us the lead, so that put us in a good position.”

The women’s distance medley relay also took an early lead en route to their victory Friday at the Iowa Classic.

Sophomore Anima Banks turned in a split of 3:24.9 for her 1,200-meter leg. Junior Elizabeth Kerpon covered 400 meters in 55.2 seconds, passing the baton to Haley Meier. The freshman extended Duke’s lead with an 800-meter split of 2:07.3. Graduate student Audrey Huth took up the anchor leg and blew away the rest of the field with her mile split of 4:39.2.

The women’s final time of 11:06.87 bested second-place Minnesota by almost six seconds and broke the meet record by nine.

Competing in her first 5,000-meter race this indoor season, graduate student Juliet Bottorff earned another win for the Blue Devils. With a final time of 15:49.80—half a second off her own school record—Bottorff placed herself fifth in the nation in the event.

Duke wrapped up the Iowa Classic Saturday with three more runners earning ACC-qualifying times.

Running in her first 800 meters of the season, Banks turned in a time of 2:08.01. Her classmate Madison Granger earned her qualifying standard in the mile with a time of 4:49.69. Freshman Hannah Meier also competed in the mile, crossing the line in 4:48.65 for her first race of her collegiate career at that distance.

Looking ahead, the Blue Devils will travel to Indiana and Virginia to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational and Virginia Tech Challenge in the upcoming week.


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