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Duke track and field finishes second at Carolina Cup

The Blue Devils finished just behind the host Tar Heels

CHAPEL HILL—The Blue Devils hoped to walk away from their first meet of the indoor season with team titles for the men and women, but fell short on both sides.

Despite a combined seven event wins Friday, Duke finished second behind North Carolina in both the men’s and women’s competitions at the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup at Eddie Smith Field House. The No. 16 Blue Devil women tallied 49 points to the Tar Heels’ 60 and the men finished just four points behind the host squad. East Carolina finished in third on both sides and N.C. State fourth.

“I thought we competed really well. [North Carolina] is good, we are good and it went pretty much down to the end,” Duke director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “This meet was a little different this year in that we had an extra week of winter break, so basically we had just one practice for a lot of guys before we had to rest of compete. The performances seemed a little down from where they were last year, and I think that’s probably what it is. And that will take care of itself in the weeks to come.”

Redshirt senior Teddi Maslowski and freshman Sydnei Murphy got the Blue Devils off to a strong start with a one-two finish in the women’s long jump. Maslowski cleared 19 feet, 4 inches on her second attempt to claim the lead, and Murphy also gave her best jump of the contest on her second attempt, landing at 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches and second on Duke’s all-time performers list.

Murphy made her debut on the track in the 60-meter dash, finishing fifth in the preliminaries in 7.63 seconds. The standout freshman came back to claim second in the finals in 7.57 seconds, equaling the program record set by Janay McKie in 2002.

Freshman MacKenzie Kerr also earned a second-place finish in her first collegiate race, passing teammate Anima Banks as she rounded the final corner for the finish in the 400-meter dash. Kerr posted a time of 57.78 seconds and Banks finished fourth in 58.20 seconds.

The Blue Devil seniors continued to boost the squad’s score in the field events, with Megan Clark and Stephen Boals both securing the top spot in their signature events.

Clark opened her senior campaign as the only athlete to clear 14 feet, 3 1/4 inches in the women’s pole vault. The Fort Benning, Ga., native’s opening height of 13 feet, 1 1/2 inches had the bar set higher than the rest of the field’s final clearance except for teammate Madison Heath. Heath took second with a jump of 13 feet, 7 1/4 inches.

“This is a better way to start the season than I did last year,” Clark said. “I have a lot of goals for this year, especially to win at nationals. I have a lot of work to do, but Coach [Wilbourn] and I are kind of looking big picture at these meets and not trying to jump high at individual meets. The goal is to peak in March.”

Boals dominated the men’s shot put, throwing for a mark of 56 feet, 3 1/4 inches on his fifth attempt, surpassing the previous best mark of the evening—his own first attempt of 55 feet, 4 1/2 inches. The mark set by A.J. Hicks of North Carolina fell almost four feet short of Boals’ for second.

On the track, sophomore Jordan Burton made his debut in the mile with a winning time of 4:17.72. An 800-meter specialist last season, Burton made the jump to the longer distance after competing in his first cross country season in the fall. The Warwick, N.Y., native brought home the final lap in 1:01.29 to finish more than a second ahead of N.C. State’s Bobby Mintz.

Senior Olivia Anderson picked up right where she left off with the end of the cross country season, when she posted a personal-best time in the six-kilometer race at the ACC championships and was the Blue Devils’ top finisher at the Southeast Regional championships. Anderson moved to the front of the pack on the second lap and built on her lead in the final 800 meters, recording splits of 1:13.59 and 1:09.41 on the final two laps. She finished in 4:54.01, nearly 10 seconds ahead of North Carolina’s Morgan Ilse, and earned an ACC championship-qualifying time.

An event later, freshman Kim Hallowes won the women’s 800 with a two-second lead at the finish, recording a time of 2:14.33. Senior Allison Sturges battled for second with Tar Heel Grace Morken. Sturges had the edge heading into the second half of the race, but Morken surged ahead with less than 300 meters to go. Sturges gave a strong kick around the final turn but could not get back in front, finishing a step behind Morken in 2:16.99 for third.

“Kim has never run an indoor track race ever in her life, so that was definitely one of our objectives—getting her first indoor race under her belt,” Duke assistant coach Christine Engel said. “We are really happy with her first race. For Olivia, this was her first mile ever. She went off a slow, early pace and she took it from there and pretty much ran solo for the rest of the race.”

The Tar Heel men put themselves at the top of the scoreboard with dominant performances in the long jump and triple jump, but the Blue Devils worked to chip away at their lead with another win on the track in the 800 meters. Junior Dylan Murphy recorded the top time in the event, outlasting Wolfpack harrier Jonathan Knight on the home stretch and finishing in 1:55.06.

Even with a win in the 4-x-400-meter relay to close the competition, Duke could not catch North Carolina on the scoreboard, missing the team title by just four points.

In the women’s relay race, Anderson almost chased down the Tar Heel anchor in the final 100 meters, but North Carolina had too much of a lead on the track and on the board for the Blue Devil women to claim their third consecutive Carolina Cup win.

“We raced well. They fought well and were competitive,” Ogilvie said. “I think Carolina really wanted to win and put their best foot forward. And that’s what we want—we want these teams to really get into the competition. This is a really good starting point for the program.”

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