KNOXVILLE, TENN. – The Duke track and field team impressed in all three of its events on the final day of the Tennessee Relays on Saturday afternoon.
Starting the day was the Duke distance medley relay. A strong opening 2:58.70 1,200m by Matt Wisner gave Duke the lead after the first leg. Kyle Francis covered the 400m and then handed off to Alex Miley for the 800m. Jordan Burton covered the final 1,600m and Burton made a late push, including a 57 second final 400m to move Duke into third place. The Blue Devils finished with a time of 9:59.11, good enough to edge out Tennessee and Ohio State.
“The men’s DMR had a very good race,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. “Virginia Tech was the NCAA Indoor Champion and Indiana was an NCAA finalist so it was great to be within a second or two of both of those teams. We had an especially nice leadoff leg by Matt and then the wind made the race very competitive at the end. The 57 second last 400m by Jordan shows an ability to close which could be very useful later in the season. I was very pleased with how they competed.”
In her first time competing in the outdoor triple jump as a Blue Devil, junior Sydnei Murphy showed little sign of rust as she set a personal-best. Murphy, who is second all-time at Duke in the indoor triple jump, cleared 41-0.25 (12.51) with the aid of the wind to tie Domonique Panton for the best mark this season by a Blue Devil and for second all-time in program history.
“For Sydnei to come out and go to second all-time at Duke and qualify for the ACC Championships in her first triple jump of the year was outstanding,” added Ogilvie.
In the invitational section of the women’s pole vault, Duke’s crew showed once again why it is among the best in the nation. Laura Marty paced the Blue Devils, tying her personal-best by vaulting over 13-9.25 (4.20) to finish in fourth place. Marty remains fourth all-time at Duke and is now fifth in the ACC this season.
Finishing seventh in the overall standings was Madison Heath. Heath also cleared 13-9.25 (4.20), her second-highest mark of the season. Among collegiate competitors, Marty took third place and Heath fifth. Joining Marty in setting a personal-best was Nati Sheppard. Sheppard topped 13-3.50 (4.05) to clear her previous personal-best by five centimeters.
“Two personal-bests among the pole vaulters and then another good performance by Madison was a great wrap up to the weekend and to a very good day for Duke,” finished Ogilvie.
Duke will have a busy week ahead of it. First, the Blue Devils will compete in the Bryan Clay Invitational in California starting on Wednesday. Then, Duke will return home for its final home meet of the year, the Duke Invitational. That will get started on Friday afternoon.
“Coach Wilbourn will take the multi-event group out to the Bryan Clay Invitational where they’ll compete,” Ogilvie said. “Then the rest of the team will compete at home. We have a beautiful weather forecast. It won’t be as gloomy as the Battle of the Blues. We’re excited about having great competition here at home and are looking forward to our fans coming on Friday and Saturday to Morris Williams Stadium.”