Duke track and field impresses at BU Terrier Classic as Finery, Gabby earn spots in program record books

Lauren Tolbert put together an impressive showing in Massachusetts over the weekend.
Lauren Tolbert put together an impressive showing in Massachusetts over the weekend.

The conclusion of the 2024 BU Terrier Classic at Boston University Saturday brought forth a series of record-setting performances and five top-30 showings, as both male and female distance runners for Duke displayed their abilities ahead of the outdoor season. 

While the Blue Devils performed well all-around, the spotlight was taken by senior Austin Gabay and graduate student Julia Fenerty, who both etched themselves into program record books amid personal-best performances. The senior from Cinnaminson, N.J., clocked in at 8:01.79 for 15th position in the men’s 3,000m Friday afternoon, while Fenerty turned in a mark of 4:39.52 in the women’s mile, good for 19th overall. Gabay’s impressive run slotted him at number two in program lore for the 3,000m while Fenerty became Duke’s fifth-fastest miler ever. 

“I think that with our men’s team as a whole, we’re starting to really acquire and develop some talent,” said head coach Shawn Wilbourn. “So I’m really excited to see the men’s team progress as we approach ACCs. Austin is a big part of that he’s a team captain and for him to run as well as he did, the others are going to be able to rally around that, and I think it’ll help our men’s program as a whole when we get to the ACC Championships.”

In addition to Gabay’s outstanding race, Duke also had six runners competing in the mile, three of whom clocked top-35 performances. Amongst these was Beck Wittstadt, who finished in 24th at a remarkable 4:01.42. This was Wittstadt’s best performance in the mile of his career so far. Graduate student Rory Cavan also turned in an impressive 4:02.23 to place 30th, followed by Jeremy Kain in 34th with a personal-best time of 4:02.85.

Despite the fact that the men’s team only competed in the 3,000m and mile, Wilbourn emphasized the versatility of the team looking ahead to future competitions.

“We’re very deep there, it’s an event that we’re deep in right now and even though they're excelling in the mile, they have range,” Wilbourn said. “They can run anywhere from the 800m to the 3k. As we approach the championship season we’ll decide who's going to compete the mile and who will move up and who will move down to spread out our resources.”

On the other hand, five female athletes represented the Blue Devils for the mile. Apart from Fenerty’s outstanding performance, graduate student Emily Cole, sophomore Lauren Tolbert, and seniors Charlotte Tomkinson and Kelli Wilson all finished in the top 30. The Blue Devils demonstrated their depth with these performances and also their reliance on veterans — the youngest of the team which raced in Boston was Tolbert, while questions remain about the role freshmen will take moving forward.

The team’s next event is the Doc Hale Invitational, scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. This outing will include events beyond just distance running, which will give other athletes a chance to display their capabilities. It will also include the emerging freshmen, providing the perfect opportunity for them to show their potential.

“We have a lot of depth,” Wilbourn said of the freshmen on the team. “We haven’t had any who have really broken through and have stood out yet, but we’ll see after next weekend cause they will all get an opportunity to compete.”


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