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After snow cancellation, Duke track and field gets back on track at the Camel City Invitational

<p>Chaz Hawkins and the Blue Devils will use this weekend's meet to set lineups for their next meet in New York.</p>

Chaz Hawkins and the Blue Devils will use this weekend's meet to set lineups for their next meet in New York.

With winter storm Jonas canceling their second meet of the indoor season and preventing them from practicing over the weekend, the Blue Devils are anxious to get going again.

Duke will head to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the two-day Camel City Invitational at the JDL Fast Track, with more than 60 athletes slated to compete in 15 track events and all the field events except for the men’s triple jump.

Despite being stuck indoors during last week's inclement weather, the Blue Devils will start competition Friday with a week’s more practice under their belts than they had for their season-opening Carolina Cup Jan. 15.

“Cabin fever was a pretty good way to describe it,” Duke director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “They’re fine now, but they were cooped up in their rooms Friday and Saturday—it was just too dangerous for them to go out and practice those days. But once the ice melted, we got to use Pascal Field House and got some great work done. Now we’ll take two kind of easy days, and we’re anxious and ready to compete.”

Ogilvie and the rest of his coaching staff will use this weekend’s meet to trim the travel roster for the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York Feb. 5-6.

But the Camel City Invitational will allow Duke to compete nearly its entire roster as up to five athletes can be entered in each event. Ogilvie took advantage of the opportunity, entering a full slate in the men's 400-, 800- and 3,000-meter races and the mile—in which the Blue Devils hold the top five seed times.

Saturday’s distance medley relay competition will give Duke its first chance of the season to try out a new lineup after losing three of the four harriers from the squad that claimed the silver medal at the 2015 ACC indoor championships.

Junior Chaz Hawkins will look to reclaim his spot as the 400-meter leg, but Ogilvie will try out a handful of his top runners at the longer distances. With a full cross-country season under his belt, former 800-meter specialist Jordan Burton will make a bid for the mile anchor against Blake Udland and Stephen Shine but may also take the 1,200-meter leg from Alec Kunzweiler. Ogilvie said Dylan Murphy is a strong candidate for the middle 800 meters.

The Blue Devils will toe the line as the team to beat in the event, entering with a seed time of 9:36.47, the second-fastest mark in Duke history set at the 2015 Armory Collegiate Invitational.

“We have the fastest seed time heading into the race. But we aren’t going all-out after this one,” Ogilvie said. “We may try a different order to find out who runs best where before New York.”

The meet will also feature an elite heat for each of the distance events Saturday. The Blue Devil men elected to run with the invitational field Friday to save energy for the distance medley relay.

Senior Anima Banks will compete in the women’s elite 800 meters, seeded seventh with a time of 2:05.42, and Duke alum Shannon Rowbury will represent Nike Oregon Pro in the women’s elite mile. The American record-holder and two-time Olympian enters Saturday’s race seeded more than three seconds ahead of the field in 4:22.66.

In the field events, two Blue Devils will look to follow wins in their signature events at the Carolina Cup with strong showings in Winston-Salem.

Senior Megan Clark is the top seed in the women’s pole vault after clearing 14 feet, 3 1/4 inches for the win in Chapel Hill Jan. 15.

Stephen Boals threw the shot put 56 feet, 3 1/4 inches to kick of his redshirt senior campaign but will have stiff competition in the event Saturday. Mitchell Pope—a graduate of N.C. State—is entered with a mark more than eight inches greater than Boals’ and Wake Forest sophomore John Maurins holds a mark of 61 feet, 5 1/2 inches.

“He’s got an extremely tough field to compete against,” Ogilvie said. “There are two guys who have thrown further than him before, so hopefully that level of competition will inspire him to give a new personal best.”

Duke will toe the line at 1 p.m. to kick off Friday’s session with the mile, and Saturday’s sessions will begin at 9 a.m. with the 200-meter dash and men’s shot put. 


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