Though the individual efforts of a few runners shone through, Friday’s meet will be one that the Blue Devils hope to move on from quickly and use as motivation for future seasons.
Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Notre Dame’s home cross country course in South Bend, Ind., Friday for the ACC Championships, a race that saw individual bright spots illuminate what was by and large a dim day for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devil men and women placed 13th and 15th, respectively, Friday morning—not a bad showing for either squad in the teams’ biggest and most competitive meet so far this season, but also not quite their goals coming into the race.
Dating back to the preseason, Duke head coach Angela Reckart said that Friday’s Battle in Beantown would be the team’s first big test of the year. It’s safe to say the Blue Devils passed that test, though with some room for improvement as well.
From the moment the gun was fired, it was clear that the ACC is here to play and will be a serious threat to the traditional titans of collegiate cross country as the season winds to the NCAA Championships in Tallahassee, Fla., in November.
It’s tough to have a better start to a head coaching career than Angela Reckart’s Friday night.
“Obviously, we all want to run fast and we all want to do well. But the bottom line is, are you impacting people’s lives? I think if you keep your eyes focused on that, first and foremost, everything else is gonna follow,” said Reckart, who ran cross country and track for The College of New Jersey. “So that's kind of the heartbeat of why I coach.”
Duke cross country has a new head coach.
The men's performance was particularly impressive—they entered the meet as one of just four unranked teams in the 30-team field, but finished in 16th place.
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It's safe to say the new era of Duke cross country is off to a strong start.
If the team's opening meet wasn’t enough proof that Beach has returned to form, she cemented her case Friday afternoon at the Virginia/Panorama Arms Invitational.
"It just reminds me of their freshman year when they worked together side by side, and I feel like we have that dynamic duo back this year.”
It’s been nearly 30 years since Norm Ogilvie wasn’t involved in Duke distance running. But after his retirement this past summer, it’s time to move forward and look to the future for the Blue Devils’ men’s and women’s cross country teams.
The Blue Devils' women's team showed continued improvement from last season, but the men's team struggled in the final race of the season.
On the men's side, sophomore Alex Miley was the first Blue Devil to complete the eight-kilometer course with a personal-best time of 24:19.7.
Sophomore Michaela Reinhart led the Blue Devils with her 47th overall finish and time of 21:11.9.