Following another weekend of competitions, Duke put itself in position to claim even more spots at the NCAA Indoor Championship.
Competing at the Virginia Tech Challenge in Blacksburg, Va., Friday and Saturday and the UCS Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, the Blue Devils continued their impressive season. The weekend was highlighted by Teddi Maslowski—who bested her own Duke record in the women’s 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.46 and set the school record in the long jump, jumping 6.33 meters—and the men’s distance medley relay team, which placed second behind Virginia Tech with a time of 9:37.01 at the UCS Invitational.
Because the race was run on a 200-meter flat track, the time converts to 9:29.28, the sixth-fastest time in NCAA Division I this season and the third fastest in Blue Devil history. Brian Schoepfer led off the race for Duke in the 1200 meters, the first of his career, running a 2:57.7 before passing the baton to Brett Bofinger, who ran a 48.7 split in the 400. Henry Farley took the baton next, running the 800 in 1:50, the fastest split of his career. McClafferty, coming off of the first under-four minute mile in school history, finished the race with a 4:00.5 split, falling just short of Virginia Tech.
“For the guys team, everything came together,” director of track & field Norm Ogilvie said. “It was a great group effort.”
The 9:29.28 time should be good enough to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championship, as only the top-12 teams make it and there is only one week left of competition before the meet. It would be the first time Duke competed in the race since 1980. Another thing that the team has going for it that no team that has run below 9:30 has ever failed to qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championship.
“We’ve been trying to qualify for NCAA’s in the distance medley literally for the last decade," Ogilvie said. “It was great to be not on the bubble for once. To be the number six in the whole country is pretty outstanding.”
The result is notable considering the fact that Duke was not originally planning to attend the meet.
“We didn’t make the decision to go to Winston-Salem until the very last minute,” Ogilvie said. “Going into yesterday we were the 12th-placed team and then we saw at Notre Dame that about 10 teams ran faster than us so we went from like 12th to 22nd in a course of 10 minutes. The good news was that the new bubble seemed to us like if we stepped it up and ran great we could still achieve it.”
At the Virginia Tech Invitational, Maslowski’s long-jump performance gave her the 10th-best mark in the country, which should be strong enough to qualify her for the National Indoor Championships, as the top-16 performers qualify.
“She set two school records over the course of the weekend, so she’s doing really well,” Ogilvie said.
Megan Clark also had an impressive weekend, placing first in the women’s pole vault competition with a clearance of 4.27m. Ian Rock also placed first in the men’s unseeded pole vault competition.
Erica Brand and Urina Harrell finished first and second, respectively, in the women’s shot put, and Stephen Boals rounded out the first place finishes for the Blue Devils in the men’s shot put.
At the UCS Invitational, the men’s distance medley team was not the only Blue Devil team to perform well Saturday. The women’s distance medley relay team of Anima Banks, Elizabeth Kerpon, Madeline Kopp, and Haley Meier had a strong performance as well, placing second with a time of 1:15.83, which converts to a time of 11:08.67—the 16th best time in the nation.
Duke will continue its season and hope to gain more spots in the NCAA Indoor Championship next weekend at the ACC Indoor Championships in Blacksburg.
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