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Duke track and field continues success at Armory Collegiate Invitational

Completing the program's best finish of all-time at the Armory Collegiate Invitational, the Blue Devils continued their strong start to the season at the two-day meet in New York.

Competing against 70 colleges from across the country, the women's squad took second out of all the women's divisions, and their male counterparts placed 12th in their division.

“It’s the process of our athletes getting a year older and a year better, and we also get better recruits,” Duke director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “We were particularly motivated this year because of the national coverage.”

The women's distance medley relay team—comprised of seniors Anima Banks, Jessica Buttinger and Callie Francis as well as sophomore Haley Meier—took home the only first place finish for Duke on the meet's opening day with a time of 11:23.42.

“We tried to win the women’s team title, and we came really close to doing that. We pushed consistently all the way to the end and... in addition to the win in the distance medley, we had a lot of second-place finishes, and those add up," Ogilvie said. "They get a lot of points from finishing second."

Madeline Kopp was an individual standout Friday, breaking a school record in the 500 meter race and finishing second in 1:12.11. Junior Megan Clark also placed second in the pole vault with her season best of 4 1/4 meters.

The relay team of Lauren Hansson, Elizabeth Kerpon, Kopp and Maddy Price earned two more second place finishes Saturday. The quartet broke another school record—set by three of the four runners a year ago—finishing the 4x400 meter relay in 3:36.78 and also took second in the 4x200 meter relay.

Banks captured a second-place finish and personal best time of 2:06.76 in the 800 meter race, and Meier recorded a personal best of 4:42.23 in the mile, also crossing the line second by less than a quarter of a second.

The men's squad earned their lone first-place finish of Day Two in the 4x800 meter relay as Henry Farley, Kyle Francis, Sean Kelly and Dylan Murphy combined for a time of 7:31.86. In the field events, Stephen Boals was the runner-up in the shot put, throwing for 17.81 meters on the first day.

The men's distance medley relay team of senior Nate McClafferty, sophomore Chaz Hawkins, freshman Jordan Burton and senior Brian Schoepfer placed sixth in the distance medley relay invitational, an event filled with both collegiate and professional teams. Their time of 9:36.47 was enough to place them in second among the collegiate teams, one second behind Columbia.

“The single best performance probably was the first quarter of the men’s medley when Nate McClafferty ran 2:52.05. He surpassed all of our expectations,” Ogilvie said.

To add to their successful performances, the Blue Devils were also able to bring home the Louise Tricard Award for sportsmanship.

Duke will travel to Blacksburg, Va., for the second time this season to compete in the two-day Virginia Tech Elite Meet Friday and Saturday.

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