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Anima Banks earns 2 silver medals to lead 13 All-ACC Blue Devil performances at ACC championship

<p>Senior Anima Banks placed second in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters despite having little rest in between the two events.</p>

Senior Anima Banks placed second in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters despite having little rest in between the two events.

Led by senior Anima Banks, the Blue Devils combined for four silver medals and 13 All-ACC performances despite coming up short in the final team standings.

The Duke women finished sixth with 66.0 points—40.5 points behind conference champions Florida State—and the men’s unit ended the weekend in 13th place at the three-day ACC championship Friday through Sunday at Mike Long Track in Tallahassee, Fla. 

Banks paced the Blue Devils with two silver medals and earned a trip to the U.S. Olympic trials in the 800 meters.

“It was a really good weekend on many, many fronts,” Duke director of track and field Norm Ogilvie said. “When we go to these ACC meets, we know it’s going to be extremely competitive. You [have] 15 of the best track and field programs in the country. And it usually produces some excellent marks.”

Banks secured her first silver medal and first-team All-ACC honors Sunday afternoon in the 1,500 meters final with a time of 4:14.67—the second-fastest time in Duke history. Barely more than an hour later, the Mamaroneck, N.Y., native placed second in the 800 meters, posting a time of 2:02.50, which automatically qualified her for the Olympic trials in July.

Banks was responsible for 21 of the Blue Devils' 66 points and had an opportunity to place first in the 800 meters before losing by a leg at the line to Virginia Tech’s Hanna Green.

“[Anima ran] one of the best middle distance doubles I’ve ever seen,” Ogilvie said. "It’s extremely difficult with the way the schedule runs to run the 1500 and 800….  In the first one, she ran a personal-best by four seconds.”

Junior Madison Granger—who also ran the 1,500 meters—finished fifth to earn second-team All-ACC recognition with a final time of 4:18.67.

The Blue Devils’ third silver medal came when senior Maddie Morrow finished second in the women’s high-jump Sunday. Morrow—a first-team All-ACC performer—cleared each of her first four heights, and her final leap of 5 feet, 8 3/4 inches marked her second-highest clearance of the season.

Senior Megan Clark and sophomore Madison Heath rounded out Duke’s first team All-ACC finishers, as the duo combined for 14 points in the women’s pole vault. Clark was unable to repeat her first-place finish in the ACC championship last year, placing second Friday with a leap of 14 feet, 3 1/2 inches.  Heath earned a bronze medal with a final height of 13 feet, 7 3/4 inches.

Miami's Alysha Newman beat Clark by clearing 14 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

“Megan Clark has been Miss consistency in the pole vault every weekend, putting up one of the top marks in the country,” Ogilvie said. “This was just one day when she wasn’t at her best…. [Newman] has pushed Megan before. For her to finally win, it was a great accomplishment for her.”

In the heptathlon, redshirt senior Teddi Maslowski recorded a fourth-place finish. After ending the first day of the event Friday in fourth with a score of 3,311, Maslowski briefly moved into second Saturday, recording the farthest long jump, but fell back to fourth after recording a throw of 32.8 meters in the javelin and running a 2:16.17 in the 800 meters.

On the men’s side, graduate student Shaun Thompson turned in a strong performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase Saturday. The Baldwinsville, N.Y., native finished fourth and earned second-team All-ACC status with an 8:43.64—the second-fastest time in Duke history.

A day later, Thompson—who usually specializes in the 10,000 meters—completed the 5,000 meters in fourth place with a career-best time of 13:54.76, which ranks fourth in school history. Thompson set the pace for much of the race and posted a 58.06 split on the final lap.

“[Shaun Thompson’s performance] easily goes down as one of the greatest distance doubles in Duke history,” Ogilvie said. “You don’t want to run the 10,000 every weekend. It’s the toughest event in track…. So to avoid running too many 10,000s we decided to get some really good work in and try to score the same amount of points in two events.”

The Blue Devils added three top-10 finishes and seven points in the javelin. Redshirt senior Thomas Lang—a two-time ACC champion in the javelin—finished fourth and secured second team All-ACC honors with a throw of 211 feet, 8 inches on his third attempt. Lang’s teammates, freshman Nicholas Solfanelli and sophomore Travis Closs, placed seventh and 10th, respectively.

In one of the final events of the weekend, the 4-x-400 meter relay, the men’s team of Matthew Rodio, Brett Bofinger, Michal Filipczack and Chaz Hawkins won the initial section before placing seventh overall with a combined time of 3:10.96, the third-best in Duke history. 

The women’s squad of Banks, Maddy Price, Madeline Kopp and MacKenzie Kerr ended the relay in fourth with a showing of 3:37.57.

The Blue Devils will return to action in two weeks for the NCAA East preliminary round in Jacksonville, Fla.

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