CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Duke men’s cross country team traveled to Charlotte, N.C., Friday to compete in the Royal XC Challenge. The Blue Devils captured the team championship in convincing fashion, taking the first three overall places and seven of the top-10 positions. Duke narrowly missed the sweep, scoring 18 points. Duke improved to 21-5 on the season after defeating Charlotte (51), Gardner-Webb (94), UNC-Greensboro (102), Charleston Southern (142) and Presbyterian (155). The Blue Devils averaged a time of 25:13.08, over 40 seconds faster than the second-place finishing Charlotte 49ers. Eight of the nine Blue Devil competitors finished within a minute of one another.
Duke’s head men’s cross country coach, Norm Ogilvie, entered the meet looking to solidify the roster for the Pre-Nationals meet Oct. 19, based on Friday's results. Junior Brian Schoepfer earned the seventh and final slot for the “A” race at Pre-Nationals after taking the overall victory at the Royal XC Challenge.
“We had a real good showing,” Ogilvie said. “We had four guys out in front, in the top 10, right from the get go. They raced really well.”
Schoepfer, racing in his second meet of the season, covered the 8,000-meter course, located in McAlpine Creek Park, in a time of 25:09.2. The Princeton Junction, N.J., native finished one second ahead of second-place finisher, sophomore Blake Udland. Udland, who will compete in the “open” race at Pre-Nationals next weekend, finished in a time of 25:10.3.
The duo of freshman Stephen Shine and junior Nate McClafferty finished in third and fifth place, respectively, and earned the final two spots on the Blue Devils “open” race roster for Pre-Nationals next weekend. Shine finished in a time of 25:10.5 and McClafferty finished two seconds later, in a time of 25:12.5.
Redshirt junior Phil Fairleigh rounded out the top five for Duke, finishing in seventh place in a time of 25:22.9.
In his first competition since the 2010-11 season, Clint McKelvey placed eighth overall, in a time of 25:37.5.
Freshmen Aaron Liberatore and Weston Carvalho, both competing in their third meet of the season for the Blue Devils, finished tenth and 11th, respectively. Liberatore recorded a time of 25:51.8, while Carvalho clocked a 25:54.9.
Sophomore Eddie Merenda rounded out the Duke contingent, placing 15th overall, in a time of 26:30.7. The meet marks the first appearance for Merenda this season.
The Duke men’s cross country team returns to action Saturday, Oct. 19, competing in the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet in Terre Haute, Ind.