BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The Duke track and field team opened the 2014 season Friday night in the first day of the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, Va.
Shaking off the holiday rust, the Blue Devils opened the season in impressive fashion, with juniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon clocking personal-best times of 7.78 and 7.80, respectively, at 60 meters. Hansson’s and Kerpon’s times rank the pair third and fourth on Duke’s all-time charts. Senior Hannah Goranson saw similar success in her season opener, reaching the finals of the 60m hurdles, advancing on a time of 8.77. Goranson returned in the finals, placing seventh overall after running a near-identical time of 8.76.
Junior Nate McClafferty wasted no time kick-starting his 2014 campaign, winning the mile in a time of 4:09.45 and improving on his indoor mile time of 4:13.36 from a year ago. Freshman Alec Kunzweiler, making his Duke debut, placed third overall, clocking a time of 4:10.61. With a personal-best time of 1:51.68 at 800m, Kunzweiler showcased an ability to move up in distance early in the season. Junior Brian Schoepfer competed to a 4:16.80 eighth-place finish, while freshman Stephen Shine, also making his track debut for the Blue Devils, rounded out the mile contingent, running a time of 4:17.34.
In the women’s 1,000m, three Blue Devils made their Duke track debuts, including freshmen Haley Meier and Hannah Meier and graduate student and former Northwestern standout Audrey Huth, with sophomore Anima Banks also returning to the track following a stellar 2013 freshman season. Hannah paced the Blue Devils with a second-place finish in the event, running a time of 2:49.08. Banks followed closely behind, placing third overall in a time of 2:49.51. Haley and Huth kept pace with their teammates, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, clocking times of 2:49.90 and 2:50.65.
Junior Kyle Moran led all Blue Devils in the men’s 1,000m, placing second in his heat and fourth overall after crossing the line in 2:27.86. Junior Henry Farley earned a third-place finish in his heat and a fifth-place finish overall after finishing in a time of 2:28.02. Sophomore Dylan Newman covered the distance in 2:29.36, placing sixth in his heat and eighth overall.
Fellow middle-distance runner Michal Filipczak, competing in the 500m, finished in a time of 1:04.43, placing third overall. The sophomore will return to the distance later in the indoor season, looking to improve on his personal-best time of 1:03.81 and hoping to better the current school record time of 1:03.42. Also in the 500m, Freshman Dylan Murphy, an 800m runner in high school, posted a time of 1:04.97 in his first meet donning a Duke singlet.
The Duke women’s school-record setting 4x400m relay returns three of the four team’s competitors from a year ago. Duke’s performance in the 300m showcased the team’s depth entering 2014, with quarter-milers Kerpon, freshman Madeline Kopp and Hansson placing second, third and fourth, respectively in the event. The trio’s times of 38.70, 38.77 and 39.02 all eclipsed the fastest 300m time run by a Blue Devil in 2013 and mark personal-bests for each.
Sophomore Matthew Rodio earned the victory in his 300m heat, running a time of 35.28 and placing ninth overall, closing day one of competition on the track.
In the jumps, freshman Grant Emrie posted a mark of 42-09.00 in the triple jump in his first competition as a member of Duke’s track and field team.
Field events resume Saturday at 11 a.m., beginning with the men’s high jump, while track events commence at 12:15 p.m., with the start of the women’s 5,000m. For full results of the first day of competition, visit here.