AUSTIN, TEXAS – On the third day of the 91st Clyde Littefield Texas Relays, the Duke track and field team saw its relay teams shine at the Mike A. Myers Track Stadium.
The Blue Devils opened the day with the 4x100m relay. The quartet of Sydnei Murphy, Kethlin Campbell, Domonique Panton and Maddy Price were the four runners for Duke, giving the Blue Devils the two fastest 100m runners in school history in Price and Murphy, and the second fastest indoor 60m runner in Campbell. That speed helped Duke race to a time of 45.36 and a seventh place finish. Duke’s time is fifth all-time at Duke and qualifies the Blue Devils for Saturday’s final.
“With the 4x100 relay, we’re happy we made the finals,” said associate head coach Shawn Wilbourn. “They ran really well. There was one issue on one handoff, but by cleaning that up, we’ll be a lot faster tomorrow. It was a great first relay of the season. Making the finals of the Texas Relays is a big deal for us.”
Later in the day, Campbell and Price were joined by India Lowe and Brittany Aveni for the sprint medley relay. Lowe and Campbell handled the pair of 200m legs, followed by Price running 400m and Aveni handling the final 800m. The squad clocked a time of 3:49.04, good for fifth place. It is the third fastest time in Duke history.
“We ran the No. 3 all-time at Duke,” Wilbourn said. “We did really well and ran in a loaded heat. There were some of the top teams in the country and we held our own. We were right up there with those schools and I was really happy with how we finished.”
Duke also had a pair of field events competing on Friday. In the women’s pole vault, Laura Marty finished in fourth place. Marty, competing outdoors for the first time since the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, cleared 13-7.25 (4.15) to finish just outside the top three spots.
“Laura looked really good early,” added Wilbourn. “Once the bar went to 4.25, she just kind of struggled a little bit technically, but it being her first outdoor meet of the year, I thought she did really well and finsihed close to her PR. She will hopefully get better as the season goes on.”
In the women’s triple jump, Panton took ninth place. She cleared 39-7.25 (12.07) on her third jump to finish in the ninth spot.
Duke also had a large contingent competing closer to home, at the Raleigh Relays.
“We had a pretty good day here at Raleigh,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie.
In the men’s 5,000m, Nikhil Pulimood shattered his previous best by 14 seconds, running a time of 14:21.49 to take 27th place in the field of 149. Pulimood is now qualified for the ACC Outdoor Championships and is fourth in the ACC this season.
“Nikhil got an ACC auto-bid and it was a 14 second PR for him,” Ogilvie said. “It was definitely the best race he’s ever put together and he finished third in a very competitive heat in Raleigh. It was the best I’ve ever seen him. He’s recently increased his mileage and the work definitely seems to be paying off.”
On the women’s side, Duke had three personal-bests in the 5,000m. Gabrielle Richichi was the top finisher in the race for Duke, clocking a time of 17:11.03 to finish in 49th in the 136 competitor field. Lindsay Billings (17:22.51) and Olivia Gwynn (17:26.12) also set personal-bests in the race.
Racing in the 400m was Simi Gbadegesin and she had the top individual finish of her collegiate career. Gbadegesin cruised to a personal-best time of 57.22 to finish in first place in her heat and 13th out of a 65 competitor field.
Jordan Burton had the top 1,500m time by a Blue Devil, finishing the race in 3:50.36 to take 27th place. Alex Miley was not far behind, crossing the finish line in 3:51.98 for his personal-best. Coming in right behind each other was Matt Wisner (3:54.17) and Alec Kunzweiler (3:54.38). Wisner’s time was a personal-best.
In the women’s 1,500m, Kim Hallowes led the way with a time of 4:34.50. Leigha Torino set a personal-best in the race when she raced to a time of 4:35.66. Rounding out the 1,500m was Liz Lansing with a time of 4:39.93. It was the 2018 debut for Hallowes and Lansing after not competing during the indoor campaign.
Closing out the events on the track was Amanda Beach making her collegiate debut in the 10,000m. Beach clocked a time of 34:53.12 in her first time running at the 10K distance.
“(Assistant coach) Rhonda Riley was very pleased with how the women’s distance squad ran,” added Ogilvie. “We had a few PRs and a solid debut from Amanda.”
Cassie Martin picked up a second-place finish in the collegiate women’s high jump. Martin cleared 5-5.00 (1.65) to take the silver medal.
In his second competition of the season, Jack Maher improved on last week’s result in the men’s shot put. Maher tossed the shot put 50-6.25 (15.40), nearly a meter further than he threw at the Outdoor Opener.
In the collegiate men’s high jump, Colt Sessions and Bryant Lewis both finished in the top six, while Rivers Ridout had the top mark for the Blue Devils in the invitational section. Sessions cleared 6-6.75 (2.00) while Lewis improved on his height from last weekend by reaching 6-3.75 (1.95) and setting his personal-best. Ridout opened his outdoor season with a leap of 6-8.75 (2.05).
Duke will have one more day of competition at both the Texas Relays and the Raleigh Relays. Duke will kick off Saturday at the Raleigh Relays with Stephen Garrett running in the 10,000m at 10:00 a.m. The Blue Devils will also compete in the 800m, men’s javelin, women’s pole vault, the 200m and the 4x1,500m relay. In the Texas Relays, Duke will open with Madison Heath in the elite pole vault competition starting at 1:00 p.m., followed by the 4x100m relay final, the women’s long jump and the 4x400m relay.
“We’re looking forward to the 4x1500m relay as Duke has won eight out of the last 10 at the Raleigh Relays,” Ogilvie said. “It’s an event that’s only run at the Raleigh and Penn Relays and it’s one of our signature events.”