AZUSA, CALIF. – The Duke track and field team had three multi-event athletes finish up competition at the Bryan Clay Invitational hosted by Azusa Pacific on Thursday evening.
When he was competing for the first time in the collegiate decathlon last month at the Texas Relays, Jacob Sobota faded a bit during the second day. This time though, Sobota improved during the second half of the competition, setting seasonal-best marks in four of the five events. He finished with an overall score of 6,818 points, which is a personal-best for the freshman from Knoxville, Tenn. Sobota lifted his discus throw mark to 114-1.00 (34.78) and his pole vault to 15-1.00 (4.60) along with dropping his time in the 110m hurdles down to 15.44 and his 1,500m time down to 4:55.51. Sobota’s marks in the 110m hurdles, the discus throw and the 1,500m run were all personal-bests.
“It was a big PR for Jacob and he performed much better than in Texas,” said associate head coach Shawn Wilbourn. “That’s a really good score for a true freshman. He had a PR in the hurdles, a PR in the discus and a PR in the 1,500m. Coming out of Texas, we talked about the middle part of the decathlon and how to manage a down event and coming back strong in the next event. You need to have a short memory in a decathlon. He executed that well. What helped is got into a rhythm. The strong performances kept him in the rhythm as he went along.”
Finishing her first heptathlon of the season was Jaida Lemmons, who finished with 5,271 points, just 126 points shy of her personal-best. Lemmons scored the majority of her points on the second day in the long jump, clearing 18-11.75 (5.78) and in the 800m, clocking a time of 2:16.08.
“It was really close to her PR,” Wilbourn said, “That was even after a really bad high jump yesterday, some of which was due to an injury she’s still recovering from. I’m really happy with where she is and this score sets her up well, both physically and mentally heading into the ACC Championships.”
Like Lemmons, Kate Kutzer completed her first heptathlon of the season as well as the first of her collegiate career. Kutzer closed the day strong, scoring 793 points in the 800m with a time of 2:22.29 to give her 4,613 for the entire competition.
“I’m really happy for Kate to finish her first heptathlon in college,” said Wilbourn. “Coming off a serious injury she had and then surgery in the fall, I’m happy for her to get a score. Mentally, it will be a big boost for her. I expect a much higher score at ACC’s for her.”
Also competing in the decathlon was former Blue Devil Daniel Golubovic. In his first time competing this spring, the 2017 ACC decathlon champion finished with 7,646 points, trailing only the 7,717 points he scored at the USA Track and Field Championships last summer.
The multi-event athletes are done competing for the weekend, but their Blue Devil teammates will be in action back home with the Duke Invitational starting at 9:00 a.m., on Friday morning. The next heptathlon and decathlon competitions will be at the ACC Outdoor Championships in May.
“For our multi-event athletes,” Wilbourn added. “It’s traditionally been a strong and high scoring event for us at ACC’s. This is all part of the development and process. We’re very young in the event, but we’re just getting the experience at two of the biggest competitions in the country, in the Texas Relays and the Bryan Clay Invite. We competed against the best in the country.”