AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Duke track and field team closed out a strong showing at the Texas and Raleigh Relays with a first place finish as well multiple top-five marks in school history.
Competing in the elite section of the women’s pole vault at the Texas Relays, Madison Heath soared past her personal-best, clearing 14-7.25 (4.45). That mark puts the Mandeville, La., product in second all-time at Duke. Heath finished in fourth among collegiate athletes in the competition and is now second in the ACC this season and fourth in the NCAA.
“The highlight of the day was Madison Heath vaulting 14-7.25”,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. “A 14 centimeter PR for her, that’s a pretty significant improvement. It puts her in the top five in the country among collegians which is very exciting.”
In the 4x1,500m relay at the Raleigh Relays, the Blue Devils continued their recent dominance. A squad of Alex Miley, Jordan Burton, Alec Kunzweiler and Matt Wisner all raced after competing in the individual 1,500m on Friday. A late kick by Wisner on the final leg helped the quartet to finish in the top spot with a time of 15:55.33. It’s the ninth time in the last 11 years that Duke has won the event with the Blue Devils losing once and not contesting the title once in that span.
“Winning the relay was pretty thrilling, it was a close finish and Matt won it with a kick,” said Ogilvie. “All four guys ran hard last night and showed they could come back the next day and perform. It was very gratifying to win and extend our dominance in that event.”
Sydnei Murphy, competing in the outdoor long jump for the first time this season, got better and better with every jump. Competing at the Texas Relays, Murphy had improved her mark with each jump through her first five tries and was in fifth place with one attempt to go. The junior took advantage of that final try with a leap of 20-5.25 (6.23) to vault her all the way up into second place. Her mark is the best among ACC athletes so far this season.
One day after racing to a time of 45.36 to qualify for the women’s 4x100m relay at the Texas Relays, the Blue Devils took their time even lower. The squad of Murphy, Kethlin Campbell, Domonique Panton, and India Lowe clocked a time of 45.27, putting them as the fifth-fastest team in school history.
“It was great to see our relay come back and run even faster in the finals today,” commented Ogilvie. “They competed with some of the best in the country and will keep getting better.”
Coming off competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the 4x400m relay team of Lowe, MacKenzie Kerr, Brittany Aveni, and Maddy Price picked up right where they left off. The Blue Devils blazed to a time of 3:38.48 in the invitational section at the Texas Relays. That time puts the Blue Devils in third in the ACC so far this season.
Heath was not the only Blue Devil to see success in the pole vault on Saturday. In the invitational section of the Raleigh Relays, Nati Sheppard cleared 13-1.50 (4.00) to finish in second place in the competition.
“Overall, it was a very good weekend,” added Ogilvie. “We split the squad and had strong performances in both meet.”
The Blue Devils will get a chance to compete in their home stadium this coming weekend in the Battle of the Blues. The meet is scheduled for April 7 in Morris Williams Stadium.