HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Duke track and field team closed competition at the VertKlasse Meeting in High Point, N.C., Saturday with school records in the women’s 100 and 200, as well as the men’s 4x400. Duke also earned first-place finishes in seven events over the weekend, including a sweep of the 4x100 meter relays, a victory in the 4x400m relay, a win in the women’s pole vault and a first-place finish in the men’s discus on Saturday.
“The meet went really well,” said Duke’s Director of Track and Field Norm Ogilvie. “A good weekend. The excellent thing about the last few weekends is we’ve seen different segments of the team have great days.”
The Blue Devils 4x400m relay, comprised of four decathletes in freshman Chaz Hawkins, junior Ian Rock, sophomore Robert Rohner and redshirt senior Curtis Beach earned a first-place finish in the event after running a school-record time of 3:11.74. After Hawkins and Rock combined for a split of 1:38.13 over the first two legs, Rohner received the baton in second place. Rohner moved the Blue Devil relay into first with a 47.50 split before handing off to Beach, who closed the relay in a time of 46.12. The 4x400’s performance marked one of five first-place finishes on the day and one of three school-record efforts over the afternoon’s competition.
The men’s 4x100, comprised of redshirt freshman DeVon Edwards, freshman Ryan Smith and redshirt juniors Issac Blakeney and Josh Snead, kick-started the first-place finishes for the Blue Devils during the meet, capturing the victory in a time of 41.32. The relay, made up of four members of Duke’s football team, finished nearly a half second ahead of the second-place finishing relay. The relay’s time ranks second on Duke’s all-time list.
Not to be outdone, the women’s 4x100m relay of juniors Lauren Hansson, Elizabeth Kerpon, Alexis Roper and freshman Madeline Kopp followed the men’s performance with a first-place finish of its own, posting a time of 45.98. Saturday’s performance marks the first time the foursome ran sub-46 seconds for the event, moving them into second on Duke’s all-time list.
Prior to contributing to the 4x100’s first-place finish, Hansson set a school record in the 100m dash after clocking a time of 11.83 en route to a fourth-place finish in the finals of the event. Hansson bested the previous school record of 11.87, which stood since 2003. Kopp, joining Hansson in the finals, finished in a time of 11.99, the third-fastest 100m time in school history. Kopp became just the third Duke sprinter in school history to break the 12-second barrier in the 100.
Kerpon returned to action following the 4x100 by also setting a school record in the 200 with a time of 23.69. Kerpon previously held the second-fastest time in school history with a personal-best of 24.22. Kerpon’s effort bested a time that stood for 11 years.
Fresh off her school record in the 100, Hansson moved into third on Duke’s all-time list in the 200 with her own personal-best time of 24.14. Kopp broke into Duke’s top-five all-time performances in the 200 as well, running a personal-best time of 24.18. Kerpon, Hansson and Kopp placed third, fifth and sixth, respectively.
“Anytime you set a school record, it’s great,” Ogilvie said. “[Kerpon and Hansson] did some fantastic things today.”
In the men’s 100, redshirt freshman DeVon Edwards, also a standout member of Duke’s football team, saw a successful day of competition in the first track meet of his collegiate career. Edwards qualified for the finals of the 100 after recording a preliminary time of 10.73. In the finals, Edwards placed eighth, finishing in a time of 10.80. The Covington, Ga., native was one of only two freshman to reach the finals of the men’s 100.
In the field events, sophomore Megan Clark won her second pole vault event of the outdoor season with a clearance of 14-1.25 (4.30). Clark cleared heights of 12-2.50 (3.72), 12-8.25 (3.87) and 13-7.25 (4.15), all on first attempts, before clearing her winning height of 14-1.25 (4.30) on her third attempt.
Redshirt senior Austin Gamble posted the second first-place finish of the weekend for Duke’s throwers after winning the men’s discus with a mark of 185-10.00 (56.66). The distance is a season-best for the Weston, Fla., native.
Sophomore Carl Heinz, competing in the high jump, moved into fourth on Duke’s all-time list after clearing 6-10.25 (2.09) on his first attempt. Heinz’s previous best of 6-8.75 (2.04), ranked fifth on Duke’s all-time list. Heinz placed fourth overall. Joining Heinz in the high jump was redshirt junior Michael Krone, who placed second overall after also clearing 6-10.25 (2.09). Krone placed ahead of Heinz due to fewer misses throughout the competition.
The Blue Devils are set to travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., next Saturday, April 12, for a tune-up meet at the Joe Hilton Invitational.
“Based off the last two weekends, Duke outdoor track and field has never been in a better place than we are right now, and it’s a lot of fun,” Ogilvie said.