SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In her final race donning a Duke singlet, recent graduate Juliet Bottorff placed fourth in the women’s 10,000 at the United States Track & Field (USATF) Championships held in Sacramento, Calif.
“It’s really exciting,” said Duke’s Associate Head Coach Kevin Jermyn. “[Juliet] saw how well she could compete against some of the top professional distance runners in the country. She was hoping she could finish that high, but I think going out there and doing it reinforced her confidence that she definitely belongs with the top runners in the U.S., especially in the longer distance events. It was a really exciting finish for her, and I think also a good entry into the next chapter of her running career, as well.”
Bottorff, who placed first among her collegiate counterparts, crossed the line in a time of 32:40.61, nearly 11 seconds ahead of Boise State’s Emma Bates, the 2014 NCAA 10,000-meter champion. Bottorff improved on her seventh-place finish from a year ago.
Bottorff’s familiarity with competing against high-level competition was evident Thursday evening as the Newark, Del., native positioned herself towards the front of the field and showed no signs of nerves in the early stages of the race. After passing through the two-mile mark in a time of 10:28.97, Bottorff began moving through the pack, improving her position to seventh at the midway point of the competition. As the leaders of the race increased the pace, the field strung out, with Bottorff responding and moving into fifth place.
With just six laps remaining, the competitors at the front once again increased the pace, causing the lead pack to separate. Bottorff positioned herself into fourth and maintained the position over the final 2,000 meters en route to the highest USATF Championship finish of her career.
“[Juliet] came from a really good high school program, but I wasn’t sure how quickly she would progress,” Jermyn said. “Right away, from her freshman year on, she proved to be, mentally, just a superior competitor. She made nationals as a freshman, and she always competed exceptionally strong at our championship meets. Having someone that stable, with high NCAA and ACC performances throughout her five years with us, was good for the team. She was just fun and easy to coach.”
Earlier in the day, former Blue Devil Cydney Ross competed in the preliminary round of the women’s 800, placing fifth in the second heat and 21st overall. The All-American clocked a time of 2:05.29.