The more you know: The talent behind Duke track and field’s record-breaking indoor season

Halle Bieber races at the Tiger Paw Invitational.
Halle Bieber races at the Tiger Paw Invitational.

With the regular season for winter sports coming to a close, many are heading into the postseason. The Blue Devils’ indoor track and field squad is no exception, with its ACC Indoor Championship meet coming up this weekend. As Duke looks to defend its indoor title on the women’s side, let’s take a look at the key pieces on this year’s track team. 

Halle Bieber

The hurdler has had a record-breaking season for the Blue Devils. Bieber sits in Duke’s top five all-time rankings in four different solo events. Her standout meet was Clemson’s Tiger Paw Invitational, where she smashed two different school records in a single weekend. Bieber opened Friday by setting the school standard in the 60m race with a time of 7.41 seconds, breaking India Lowe’s 2019 record. From there, she continued at an impressive pace, also breaking the 200m mark Saturday by .05 seconds. Now coming into the postseason, the senior will look to continue running at that breakneck clip with potential titles on the line.

Megan McGinnis

Another key runner for Duke this season has been sophomore McGinnis. The Roanoke, Va., native has also strung together several indoor records for the Blue Devils. She currently sits atop the program’s 300m standings with a blazing 37.94-second time and holds second place in the 400m event. Additionally, McGinnis is part of the 4x400m relay squad that holds the second-best time in program history. In the solo 400m event, McGinnis and freshman Lauren Tolbert actually set the top two school marks in the same race, running 52.67 and 52.59 seconds, respectively. McGinnis has been an integral part of Duke’s historic performance thus far, and will likely continue to play an important role throughout the postseason. 

Lauren Tolbert

Tolbert is just a freshman, but she has been making her mark early on in her collegiate career. She already holds several top five program marks, including the first position in the aforementioned 400m dash and the second spot as a part of the same 4x400m relay team with McGinnis and Bieber. The Belmont, N.C., native has proven herself to be dangerous even as just a first-year, and will look to make a name for herself around the ACC in her first postseason meet this weekend. 

The DMR squad

While McGinnis and Tolbert, who account for half of Duke’s distance medley relay team, have already been mentioned, the other two members have also been excellent this season. Junior Amina Maatoug and freshman Dalia Frias have been instrumental to a distance medley relay team that broke the Blue Devils’ previous program record by nearly five seconds. On top of that relay record, Maatoug has been having a standout season in her other events. She smashed the program mark for the mile run this season with an impressive 4:32.54-second time, and also broke the 3000m record with an 8:55.62-second performance. 

On the men’s side

While the men’s squad has had a less impressive year than the women’s, it has still been solid, and will be looking to improve on a strong but not spectacular seventh-place ACC finish last season. Leading the charge has been sophomore runner Beck Wittstadt. Wittstadt has been excellent all year, but his most notable performance came early on in the season at Virginia Tech’s Hokie Invitational. There, the Baltimore native broke one of the longest-standing marks in Duke history, beating the 1000m record set by former Olympian Bob Wheeler in 1971. Wittstadt also holds top-five program marks in several other events, including the 800m run and the mile. 

Looking ahead

It has been an excellent regular season for Duke’s indoor track and field team, with strong performances from both veterans and younger talent. The Blue Devils will face two major tests over the next few weeks, first in Louisville, Ky., for the ACC championship meet and then likely in Albuquerque, N.M., for the NCAA championships. It will be a challenge to come out on top of what has been a talented conference this year, but the Duke women have the experience and the talent to repeat their ACC championship win this weekend.  


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