AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Duke track and field team saw a school record fall as well as finishing up the multi-event competition on the second day of the 91st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Thursday.
Stefani Vukajlovic took over as the school record holder in the women’s hammer throw at last year’s Duke Invitational and in her two competitions this season, she has extended that record even further. Last weekend at the Outdoor Opener, Vukajlovic cleared 197-8 (60.24) to take first place. On Thursday, Vukajlovic wasted little time breaking the record once again, throwing the hammer 203-1 (61.90) on her first attempt. Vukajlovic finished in third place in the standings and is now second in the ACC this season. Vukajlovic also extends her Bosnian-Hzerzegovinian record.
“Two weekends in a row now and Stefani is continuing to improve each week,” said associate head coach Shawn Wilbourn. “I was talking with (associate head coach) B.J. Linnenbrink and he felt there was a lot more there. We will look for her to continue to improve and this is another confidence booster. Being able to compete in a quality field and environment, she stepped up and performed.”
In the 400m hurdles, Lauren Hoffman finished in 26th in a 77 competitor field. In her first collegiate race in the event, the freshman from Haymarket, Va., clocked a time of 1:00.50, good for third all-time at Duke.
“To run No. 3 all-time at Duke for her opening collegiate 400 race, I’m very happy” commented Wilbourn. “She managed the wind and a very competitive field. We couldn’t be happier with her time. For her first race in college and to almost break the 60 second barrier, it was great.”
“It was a definite learning experience for all three, but especially the freshmen,” said Wilbourn. “Jacob was just learning how to manage the decathlon, the ups and downs, the highs and the lows. I think it opened his eyes to just how challenging it is. The experience here gained will help him by the time the ACC championships hit. It might not have gone how he would have liked, but that’s normal for a freshman in their first big decathlon. I’m happy that he got some great experience.”
Marsh finished with a personal-best 4,976 points in the heptathlon. Her second day was highlighted by a sixth place finish in the long jump, clearing 18-9.75 (5.73).
“It’s kind of the same thing for Erin,” added Wilbourn. “It was a huge PR for her score and she had some great individual events. But she needs to be consistent and has to get better in the throws. When Erin does that, she will put up an even bigger score. She gained some confidence this weekend and a ton of experience and I’m excited to see her grow.”
Lemmons had a chance to pass her personal-best in the heptathlon before an injury prevented her from competing in the final event. Before that though, she set her personal-best in the javelin throw, tossing the javelin 139-10 (42.63) to finish in second-place.
“Jaida did fabulous and had great meet going,” Wilbourn said. “She had a PR in the javelin. Unfortunately, on her third throw, she strained a muscle in her back and couldn’t finish the last event. Hopefully it’s not too bad and she will be able to compete in California in three weeks. Hopefully she can finish there and put a big score up. Before the injury, we were very happy with where she was.”
Rounding out the events was Brittany Aveni racing in the invitational section of the 800m. In her first race of the outdoor season, Aveni sprinted out to a time of 1:03.09 halfway through the race. The Geneva, Ohio product finished the race with a time of 2:10.56 to take seventh place in her heat and 12th overall.
“The race was tactical and Brittany got a ton of experience racing in a tactical race rather than an all-out race,” Wilbourn said. “The experience she gained will help her down the road. She hoped the time would be a little better, but she did a great job managing what happened in the race and did a great job of trying to take charge and keep the pace moving fast. She kind of ran out of gas at the end, but the experience will pay huge dividends down the road.”
Duke is halfway through the Texas Relays and will be competing again on Friday. Friday’s events will lead off with the 4x100m relay preliminary heats at 10:35 a.m. The Blue Devils will also have members of its squad competing at the Raleigh Relays. That will get started at 9 a.m. with the 5,000m.