Two weeks after both seeing both teams post strong ACC Championship performances, the Blue Devil men’s and women’s teams ended their seasons on different notes.
Duke’s women's team raced to third-place while the men finished 13th at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in Rock Hill, S.C on Friday at the Winthrop Farm course. Neither team qualified for the NCAA Championships, but both improved upon their regional performances from the 2017 season.
With 139 team points, the women notched their best regional finish since 2012. Senior Gabrielle Richichi and sophomore Michaela Reinhart led the Blue Devils’ charge with a pair of All-Region performances. Reinhart finished in 20:34.2 to come in 20th-overall, an eight-place improvement from her Southeast Regional finish in 2017. Richichi dropped almost two minutes from her first 6k of the season and earned 15th-place with a personal-best of 20:23.6.
“Gabby definitely ran with a purpose today. She was determined to do something special,” women’s head coach Rhonda Riley said. “She is an athlete who has improved every season and she wanted to take the risk and put herself out there today and it definitely paid off.”
Freshman Monica Hebner came in third for Duke’s squad, completing the race in 20:51.6 and placing 31st-overall. Hebner’s freshman campaign was impressive, as she finished in Duke’s top-four in every race this fall.
“Monica has had a lot of composure and grit for a freshman—she has a great attitude and is fun to watch develop,” Riley said. “And we have a young squad, so there’s an exciting future for these youngsters.”
Senior Kim Hallowes and sophomore Amanda Beach rounded out Duke’s scoring five, finishing 36th and 40th, respectively. The Blue Devils’ season-ending race was a substantial improvement from 2017, when only three runners finished top-40 at the Southeast Regional.
“We have really great team chemistry going on right now and we can do something special in this program,” Riley said. “It was great to watch the girls progress and come together to run their best race when it counted at the end of the season.”
Duke’s men did not enjoy as sweet of a finish to their season. The Blue Devils tallied 356 points after running through mud and rain for a second consecutive week.
Sophomore trio Josh Romine, CJ Ambrosio and Alex Miley made up Duke’s top-three, placing 47th, 55th and 71st-overall, respectively. Junior Tom Sullivan finished 86th and senior Nikhil Pulimood, hampered by a fall early in the race, finished 99th. The Blue Devil men’s performance in South Carolina was unsatisfying, but four of the team’s top-five will return next fall.
Both teams will look to continue their improvement and qualify for the NCAA Championships in 2019.
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