CORAL GABLES, FLA. – The Duke track and field team opened the ACC Outdoor Championships with six All-ACC performances as well as excellent performances in the multi-events and preliminary heats in Cobb Stadium on Thursday.
After the first day, the Blue Devil women scored 15.5 points after four of the 21 events have been completed and are in fourth place. The men’s team has 7.5 points after three events and sit in ninth.
The Blue Devils had five athletes advance out of preliminary heats on Thursday and the most impressive performance was Maddy Price. Price, who finished in ninth in the 200m preliminary heats at the ACC Indoor Championships, made sure she did not suffer the same fate at the outdoor edition. In the fifth and final heat, Price punched her ticket to Saturday’s final with a blazing time of 23.20, the fastest time in the heats as well as breaking the Duke record.
Joining Price in the 200m final will be Kethlin Campbell. The freshman from Shelbyville, Tenn., just missed an automatic qualifying spot when she finished third in her heat. However, her time of 23.43 placed her sixth overall in the prelims and earned her one of the eight spots in the finals.
“That’s a really big help for us in the team race,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie.
Three Blue Devils scored points in the women’s pole vault. Leading the way was Madison Heath who finished with a clearance of 13-7.25 (4.15) to take fourth place and second-team All-ACC honors. Right behind her was Nati Sheppard who tied her personal-best with a mark of 13-3.50 (4.05). Sheppard finished tied for fifth and also took second-team All-ACC laurels. Also scoring for Duke was Laura Marty. Marty finished in seventh place after clearing 13-3.50 (4.05). Between the three, Duke earned 10.5 points in the event.
Duke had a trio of field athletes earn All-ACC honors for the first time in their careers. In the men’s hammer throw, Iyin Battle bested his previous personal-best throw twice. The Chapel Hill, N.C., product launched the hammer 189-4 (57.70) on his third throw, besting his previous furthest throw of 186-7 (56.87). On his sixth and final throw, Battle threw the hammer even further, clearing 189-6 (57.77) to finish in fifth place. The fifth place finish earns Battle second-team All-ACC honors.
“Iyin Battle had two PR’s today,” commented Ogilvie. “It was great to see him clear his lifetime best on the last throw.”
Joining Battle in earning second-team All-ACC honors was Rivers Ridout. Ridout cruised through the early heights, clearing all the way up to 6-11.50 (2.12) without failing a single attempt. Although the Searcy, Ark., native could not advance any further, his mark was good for a tie for fifth and Ridout’s first career All-ACC honors.
In the women’s high jump, Cassie Martin cleared 5-4.50 (1.64) to finish in a tie for sixth, allowing her to score for Duke as well as take second-team All-ACC honors for the first time in her career.
Rounding out the Blue Devils earning second-team All-ACC honors was Amanda Beach, who finished in sixth in the 10,000m. Beach, who was also All-ACC in cross country this year, was competing in the 10,000m for just the second time in her collegiate career. The freshman raced to a time of 35:13.90.
Also scoring for Duke was Stefani Vukajlovic in the women’s hammer throw. Vukajlovic finished with a throw of 192-9 (58.75) to earn eighth place.
“One point each from Cassie and Stef and three from Amanda,” Ogilvie said. “Picking up five points there helps us out in the team scoring.”
Duke had two personal-bests and two qualifiers in the 1,500m. In the men’s race, Jordan Burton set a personal-best by clocking a time of 3:46.00 to finish fourth overall in the preliminary heats.
“It was a PR for Jordan and he reaches the final on Saturday,” Ogilvie said. “Before that, he will come back and race in the 800m tomorrow.”
For the women, Kim Hallowes dropped her personal-best time by nearly three seconds as she crossed the finish line in 4:24.70 to finish in third place in her heat and gain a spot in Saturday’s final.
“Kim ran tremendously,” said Ogilvie. “She kicked by three or four people on the last lap to reach the final.”
Leading off the day on the track was the 400m hurdles. India Lowe ran her second-fastest time of the season to qualify for Saturday’s final. Lowe crossed the finish line in 59.28 to finish second in her heat and earn one of eight spots in the final.
The day got started with the multi-event athletes competing in the decathlon and heptathlon. Halfway through the decathlon, Jacob Sobota and Christian Friis are in fourth and fifth, respectively. Sobota opened the competition on the front foot, finishing in second in both the 100m (11.01) and the long jump (22-3.75 [6.80]). The freshman also closed out the day with a second place finish in the 400m when he cruised to a time of 49.35 to give him 3,318 points. Friis is right on Sobota’s heels after racking up 3,318 points of his own.
Duke’s top two heptathletes both reside in the top-four after the first day of competition, with Erin Marsh in third and Jaida Lemmons in fourth. Marsh bookended her day with strong events as she had a time of 13.98 in the 100m hurdles to start and finished by clocking a time of 25.00 in the 200m. Overall, she has racked up 3,095 points so far. Lemmons is only 18 points behind with 3,077 so far, including earning 631 points after throwing the shot put 37-10.25 (11.55).
“It’s great to have four multi-event athletes in scoring position,” added Ogilvie.
Day two of competition will get underway at 11:00 a.m., with the start of the decathlon. ACC Network Extra’s live coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“It was very good day setting up the rest of the meet,” finished Ogilvie. “I’m very happy with how everyone competed and we’re excited for the next two days.”