With a season highlighted by breakout performances by freshmen, the Blue Devils yet again put in a solid showing at this weekend’s ACC championships.

Duke traveled to Louisville, Ky., Friday morning to compete in the ACC championships at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. Led by freshmen Michaela Reinhart and Amanda Beach, the women’s team took seventh of 15 teams with 180 points, and the men’s team took ninth with 261 points, paced by junior Nikhil Pulimood. N.C. State took the women’s title with 43 points, and Syracuse secured the men’s banner with 27 points.

“The women raced well,” Duke women’s head coach Rhonda Riley said. “There were a lot of positives that we could take away from such a competitive environment.”

After a season of trading leading performances for the Blue Devils, Reinhart and Beach earned all-conference honors with 16th- and 17th-place finishes, respectively, in their first ever collegiate championship race. Reinhart and Beach hit the first 2,000 meters in the middle of the pack just 0.2 seconds apart from each other. Neither runner generated much separation from each other until Louisville’s Kassidy Manning surged at the 4,000-meter mark to knock the Blue Devils a few paces. 

Ultimately, Reinhart—who was a few steps ahead of Beach the whole race—crossed the line in 20:32.4 on the six-kilometer course to earn ACC Freshman of the Year honors, with her teammate just behind her with a time of 20:35.0.

The only other Duke runner on the women’s team to finish in the top 50 was sophomore Sophia Parvizi-Wayne, who clocked in at the 2,000-meter mark in 32nd, but fell to finish 42nd with a time of 21:19.5. Junior Sheridan Wilbur finished 52nd with a time of 21:40.8, and Olivia Gwynn was the team's final scorer in 59th place.

“I'm very proud of the freshmen,” Riley said. “They continue to improve each meet. The biggest thing is they're having a lot of fun running together and accomplishing their goals along the way.”

Although the women’s team saw impressive individual performances despite a middle-of-the-pack finish, the men’s team did not have any individuals stand out from the .

Pulimood was the only Blue Devil on the men’s team to finish in the top 50, placing 42nd of 129 runners with a time of 24:22.9. The Princeton, N.J., native struggled in the first leg of the 8,000-meter race, falling as far back as 51st by the halfway mark. However, Pulimood found another gear in the last 2,000 meters to surge ahead nine places. The Duke junior barely held off Pittsburgh’s Nick Wolk—who jumped from 88th to 43rd in the same span and finished less than a second behind Pulimood.

Freshmen Paul Dellinger and Alex Miley were the only other Blue Devils in the top 60, with Dellinger finishing 51st. The Rochester, N.Y., native fell back as far as 75th by the halfway mark, but pushed ahead 24 places to come in just one second out of 50th place. Miley was yet another Blue Devil with a massive surge from falling behind early, jumping from 90th to 59th with a time of 24:43.8.

“We had four out of our 10 runners run lifetime bests, including Nikhil,” Duke men’s head coach Norm Ogilvie told GoDuke.com. “We set time goals, and for the most part we accomplished those. We’re a young team and we’re going to keep on getting better.... We didn’t get out fast enough at the beginning and got trapped. I’m very happy with the way the guys battled back, though, and moved up in the back half of the race.”

Some of the men’s team will travel to Cary, N.C., to compete in the Adidas Three Stripe Nov. 4, but the top Blue Devils will prepare for the NCAA Southeast Regional in Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 10 before the NCAA championships in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 18.

“We know we haven't ran a complete race as far as the women having their best performances on the same day, but we're gearing for two weeks to accomplish that,” Riley said. “If we do that, we'll have some really good results.”