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Six Blue Devils punch tickets to NCAA indoor championships for Duke track and field

<p>Anima Banks and five other Blue Devils will head to Hoover, Ala., during spring break for the NCAA indoor championships.</p>

Anima Banks and five other Blue Devils will head to Hoover, Ala., during spring break for the NCAA indoor championships.

When the ACC indoor championships wrapped up Saturday in Boston, six Blue Devils were in position to qualify for the indoor national championships.

With the rest of the conference meets in the books, all six have now officially punched their tickets to Hoover, Ala.

Individual athletes Anima Banks, Megan Clark and Karli Johonnot and the distance medley relay of Kim Hallowes, Maddy Price, Madeline Kopp and Banks will represent the No. 16 Duke squad at the 2016 NCAA indoor championships March 11-12, seeking the first top-15 team finish in program history.

All three podium-finishers from the 800 meters at the ACC indoor championships Feb. 27—conference champion Hanna Green of Virginia Tech, silver-medal winner Banks and Chelsea Jarvis of Florida State—will advance to the national stage based on their season-best times. Banks leads the trio in the national standings with the fourth-fastest run to date with the top collegiate performance at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational Feb. 12. Green sits 13th with a time of 2:04.15 and Jarvis 16th in 2:04.45.

Clark will face off against Miami’s Alysha Newman in the women’s pole vault for the third time this season in Hoover. The pair earned new personal and school records to claim first and second at the Armory Collegiate Invitational Feb. 6, when Clark earned the nation’s top mark at 15 feet, 1 inch and Newman the fourth-highest clearance to date of 14 feet, 8 inches. The Blue Devil vaulter earned her second consecutive conference gold medal in the event Friday and the Hurricane’s top field performer took the silver.

Johonnot will serve as the ACC’s lone representative in the women’s pentathlon after recording the No. 8 score to win the Tobacco Road Cup Jan. 22 with a converted five-event total of 4,304 points. The redshirt senior also claimed gold in the event at the conference championships with 4,234 points.

Rounding out Duke’s national roster, Hallowes, Price, Kopp and Banks produced the nation’s 10th-fastest combined, converted time for the 4,000-meter race in 11:04.27 at the UCS Invitational Feb. 20. Their mark held up in the national rankings through the end of the qualifying period to allow the squad advance as one of the 12 invited quartets in the event. Senior Olivia Anderson will accompany the relay to Hoover as an alternate.

The Blue Devils will open competition March 11 with Johonnot’s pentathlon and both the semifinals of Bank’s 800 meters and the timed finals of the distance medley relay.

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