Facing the toughest field in conference championship history, Duke capped off a historic season by reeling in a pair of ACC titles and smashing school records.
Highlighting the Blue Devils' weekend at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Clemson, S.C., were two individual titles on the second day of competition by redshirt senior Curtis Beach in the heptathlon and redshirt senior Juliet Bottorff in the 5,000 meters. Duke's women placed second overall at the conference championships, with the men placing fourth.
The Blue Devils finished the competition with nine competitors and one relay team earning All-ACC honors.
“That’s clearly the best ACC meet we’ve had in my 24 years,” Duke Director of Track and Field Norm Ogilvie said in a press release. “It was the highest finish ever for any Duke women’s team . Everybody fed off each other. [The Duke competitors] just kept stepping up. That’s what we challenged them to do. They seemed to buy into that. So many people stepped up."
Beach accumulated a score of 5,987 points in the seven-event contest to win the conference championship Friday afternoon. Beach’s score not only led the nation at the time the heptathlon concluded, but also bypassed the previous meet record of 5,881. Beach was followed by his Duke teammate, Ian Rock, who finished second in the event with a score of 5,510.
Bottorff, also familiar with the podium, successfully defended her 5,000-meter conference title by winning the event in a time of 15:59.40. Bottorff took the lead from Florida State's Hannah Walker and did not relinquish her position, closing strong for her second consecutive ACC title. She returned to the track the next day for the 3,000 meters, finishing third with a time of 9:22.36.
Two school records fell in the final day of competition as redshirt sophomore Stephen Boals recorded a mark of 59 feet, 4 1/4 inches in the shot put and sophomore Megan Clark cleared 14 feet, 5 1/4 inches in the pole vault. As a team, both the women’s and men’s contingents saw one of the best finishes in Duke history, as the women placed second with 83 points and the men placed 4th with 67 points.
Boals earned a second-place finish for his record-setting performance after opening the shot put competition with a mark of 54-8.25 (16.67). Following a distance of 56-11.50 (17.36) on his second attempt, Boals unleashed the best throw of his career, posting the school record of 59-4.25 (18.09). Boals received All-ACC honors for his efforts.
In the women’s pole vault, Megan Clark continued her impressive sophomore campaign after placing second in the event with her record-setting clearance. Clark cleared heights of 13 feet, 3 1/2 inches, 13 feet, 7 1/4 inches, 14 feet, 1 1/4 inches and 14 feet, 5 1/4 inches—all on her third and final attempt, en route to her second-place finish.
The Blue Devils closed out the first day of competition with a bang, capturing the team's only relay title when Duke was crowned conference champion in the distance medley relay, becoming the first Duke DMR to achieve that feat since 2007. The team of sophomore Anima Banks, junior Lauren Hansson, junior Abby Farley and graduate student Audrey Huth clocked in with a time of 11:15.57, finishing a narrow 1.02 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Notre Dame.
“The way the DMR was won was very exciting because there wasn’t really a conclusion until late in the race,” associate head coach Kevin Jermyn said in a press release. “It was a real positive close to Thursday evening.”
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