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Split squad Blue Devils break records, earn national ranking

Continuing a strong start to the indoor season, Duke earned four individual wins and broke two school records Friday and Saturday.

With the first meets of the season completed, the indoor season’s first United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll announced the first national rankings. On the women’s side, the Blue Devils landed at No. 31 on the list, and the men were ranked No. 35. Both teams are ranked second in the Southeast Region.

“We have a number of athletes that look like they are on track to go to the NCAA Championships this year after we wrapped up the first three weekends of meets,” director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “We are in very good shape. Both the men’s and women’s programs are getting it done. We’re having a good season.”

Redshirt senior Michelle Anumba and redshirt sophomore Stephen Boals opened up the weekend for Duke with wins in the shot put Friday in Winston-Salem. Anumba recorded her season-best throw of 49-8 1/4 for her second win of the season. Boals won his third competition in a row with a throw of 56-11 1/2.

The next day, junior Elizabeth Kerpon broke her own school record in the 200 meters, dropping her best time from 24.74 seconds to 24.32 seconds. Her performance earned her a sixth-place overall finish at the Penn State Invitational.

Duke’s success on the track continued with graduate student Audrey Huth’s win in the mile—her first time racing the event as a Blue Devil. Huth posted a time of 4:42.93, placing her fourth on Duke’s all-time list. Huth also anchored the women’s distance medley relay on Friday, posting a nearly identical time for her split in the mile.

Graduate student Juliet Bottorff also broke into the Blue Devil’s all-time top performances list with her run in the 3,000 meters. Crossing the line in fifth, Bottorff posted a time of 9:18.88. Bottorff holds top times for Duke in the outdoor 5,000- and 10,000-meter events, but her race this week marks her first time making the all-time top five list for an individual indoor event.

The Blue Devils saw another school record fall with sophomore Meghan Clark’s pole vault. Clearing 14 feet, Clark claimed first in the event and broke Duke’s record set by former Olympian Jillian Schwartz in 2001.

“The best performer of the weekend was Meghan Clark,” Ogilvie said. “Not only was that a school record, but it broke the record of a two-time Olympian. Usually if you’re breaking those kinds of records, it’s a pretty good thing. We are thrilled for her…That should get her to the NCAA meet.”

Ogilvie entered a reduced roster into both meets this weekend and dedicated the weekend to training for the remainder of his athletes. The full team will compete next weekend, divided between the Armory College Invitational in New York, N.Y., and the Virginia Tech Elite Meet in Blacksburg, Va.

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