Last season, Duke sent a women’s relay team, three jumpers, a thrower and a heptathlete to the NCAA Indoor Championship, bringing home a national title in the heptathlon thanks to a stand-out performance from Curtis Beach. Friday, the Blue Devils will look to continue that success.
Duke will take 39 men and 29 women to Chapel Hill for its opening meet at the Carolina Cup. The Blue Devils bring a strong group of returning athletes as well as a talented incoming class.
The Blue Devils will depend on freshmen Kyle Francis, Sean Kelly and Jordan Burton to carry the middle distance squad to top scores in their first collegiate appearances, as last year’s top middle distance runner Michal Filipczak is redshirting the indoor season.
“This year’s incoming class is very strong, particularly on the men’s side in the middle distances," director of track and Field Norm Ogilvie said. "We have three freshmen who were among the best in the nation last year in the 800m and the mile…. We have three really, really good guys what is already a talented middle distance group."
In addition to the debuts of three newcomers, Duke will look to put together a strong performance in the women's 4x400 relay, which returns all four women who qualified for the NCAA Championship in 2014—Lauren Hansson, Elizabeth Kerpon, Madeline Kopp, and Teddi Maslowski—as well as top recruit Maddy Price.
“[Price] is absolutely the real deal in the 400m and she’ll make our women’s 4x4 even better,” Ogilvie said.
Last year, Duke was able to defeat North Carolina on both the women’s and the men’s side at the Carolina Cup. In the individual events, the Blue Devils will look to three returning veterans—pole vaulter Megan Clark, multi-eventer Ian Rock, and distance runner Shaun Thompson—for leadership and a spark.
Clark, who currently hold the school record in the pole vault, is looking to return to the NCAA Championship again this season as well as break the collegiate pole vault record.
“She’s been practicing at that level and right about now she’s got to go 15 feet. Her best is 14 feet, 7 1/4 inches," Ogilvie said. "Based on what we’ve seen in practice, that goal is well within her grasp."
Rock claimed the ACC heptathlon title in 2013 as a sophomore and returns in hopes of winning another conference crown. Last season, he came in second to Beech as the Blue Devils swept the top two spots in the event.
Thompson rounds out the big three who will be vital to Duke's success Friday. After redshirting during the cross country season in the fall, the senior will compete in two distance events—first running the mile, then running the 3000m.
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