CLEMSON, S.C. – The Duke track and field team kicked off day one of competition at the ACC Track and Field Championships in Clemson, S.C., with the pentathlon, heptathlon and the men’s and women’s distance medley relay.
With two events scored on the women’s side, the Blue Devils are tied for fifth with 6 points. In the men’s competition, Duke is currently tied for ninth after just one event.
Jaida Lemmons and Erin Marsh both set personal-bests in the pentathlon to start the day. The pair started the competition by tying for third in the 60m hurdles with times of 8.70. The pair again hit the same mark when both cleared 5-3 (1.60) in the high jump to finish tied for seventh. A strong shot put throw moved Lemmons back up in the standings as she threw a season-best 36-11.50 (11.26) to take fourth. Marsh also reached a season-best, tossing the shot put 34-9.50 (10.60).
In the long jump, Lemmons cleared 18-5.00 (5.61) in her first and only attempt, placing her sixth in the event and fourth in the overall standings. Marsh tied for seventh in the long jump when she leaped a distance of 17-11.75 (5.48) to tie for seventh. In the fifth and final event, the 800m run, Lemmons (2:27.14) finished in 11th and Marsh (2:28.41) was right behind her in 12th.
Overall, Lemmons scored 3,783 points, placing her fifth and earning a spot on the All-ACC second team. That is the second All-ACC honor of her career, following her All-ACC first team honor at the 2017 ACC Outdoor Championships. It is also a personal-best for the Desoto, Tx., native and is fifth all-time at Duke.
“We weren’t certain about that going into the event,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. "Jaida had tweaked her hamstring at the Power Five Invite and wasn’t sure if she would compete. But she worked very hard in rehab and ended up competing and did the best she’s ever done. It’s really a pleasant surprise. That’s how you win championships, by athletes doing what you don’t expect.”
Marsh took seventh place overall with a personal-best 3,686. That total is the sixth highest in school history.
"Erin finishing seventh with the sixth all-time performance at Duke was a great performance,” Ogilvie said. “Net effect, we’re up four points from where we were projected to be coming into the day.”
The men’s multi-events also competed on Thursday morning, completing four of the seven heptathlon events. Jacob Sobota took an early lead in the competition when he raced to a first-place finish in the 60m dash, finishing in 6.91, just .01 off his personal-best.
Sobota remained in first place after the long jump after reaching a mark of 22-10.5 (6.97). He relinquished the top spot after taking fifth in shot put (41-3 [12.57]) and seventh in the high jump (6-0 [1.83]), but he remains in third place with 3,016 points heading into day two.
Christian Friis was in eighth place in the heptathlon standings, but he finished strong to shoot up. He took fourth in the shot put, throwing it 42-11.75 (13.10) and followed it up with a high jump of 6-1.25 (1.86) to finish in fifth. He stands in fifth place after day one, having racked up 2,882 points.
"After day one to be sitting in third and fifth is great,” Ogilvie commented. “It was a very good day in the multi-events for both the men and the women.”
Duke closed out the day with a pair of distance medley relays. The women’s quartet finished with a season-best time of 11:41.59. Gabrielle Richichi opened the race with the 1,200-meter leg before handing off to Lauren Hoffman for the next 400 meters. Hoffman’s ran the fastest second leg, clocking in at 52.37 before passing the baton to Leigha Torino for the 800-meter portion. Olivia Gwynn took the fourth and final leg, closing the race out with the 1,600-meter leg.
Racing on the men’s side, the Blue Devils placed ninth with a time of 9:53.85. Matt Wisner kicked off the race followed by Miles Mingo’s 400 leg. Kyle Francis sprinted the next 800 meters before Jordan Burton capped the relay.
“The DMR’s didn’t quite do what we hoped, but it’s a tough, tough conference,” added Ogilvie. “It’s just one of those things, the men finish one place out of scoring and are a little disappointed, but we have a whole bunch of events to go.”
Day two of the ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships will resume Friday morning at 10:00 a.m., with ESPN3 coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. Live results can be found here.