DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke track and field team finished the home meet portion in style on Saturday, racking up 12 top-three finishes and honoring its senior student-athletes.
The Duke Invitational finished up on Saturday evening with more than 1,300 athletes and 2,000 entries throughout the two days.
“It was great that we got to honor our seniors and many of them had such a great weekend,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. “The weather was great. We had some nice crowds throughout the weekend. It was three or four deep on the fence and the stands were full. It was a great atmosphere. Certainly our most successful Duke Invitational since we moved to Morris Williams Stadium.”
For the second straight meet, the Duke women’s 4x100m relay raced away from the competition. The quartet of Domonique Panton, Kethlin Campbell, India Lowe and Maddy Price crossed the finish line in 44.73 seconds to earn first place. That time is the second-fastest in Duke history, trailing only the 44.47 run by Panton, Campbell, Price and Sydnei Murphy at this month’s Battle of the Blues.
Duke capped the day with its second relay victory, winning the 4x400m relay. Lowe, MacKenzie Kerr, Brittany Aveni and Lauren Hoffman combined to clock a time of 3:41.21, setting a new Duke Invitational record.
Lowe added another first place to her day when she blazed to a time of 58.77 in the 400m hurdles. Lowe drops her personal-best time down from 59.46 and is third all-time at Duke. The Mechanicsville, Va., native now owns the fourth fastest time in the ACC this season.
Esteban Suarez moved into the top-five of the ACC this season when he cleared a personal-best 16-4.75 (5.00) in the men’s invitational pole vault. That matches Suarez’s lifetime best, which he attained at this year’s ACC Indoor Championships and places him fifth in the conference this spring.
Duke picked up a pair of ACC qualifying marks in the men’s 800m when Matt Wisner and Jordan Burton both ran personal-bests. Wisner, who owns Duke’s record in the indoor 800m, broke 1:50 for the first time outdoors, racing to a time of 1:48.04. That puts him fourth all-time at Duke and third in the ACC so far this season. Burton set a personal-best for the second time this weekend after also doing so in Friday’s 1,500m. The senior from Warwick, N.Y., finished his final race in Morris Williams Stadium in 1:50.32.
In the women’s 800m, former Blue Devil and current volunteer assistant coach Madeline Kopp (2:04.11) finished in second place and Aveni (2:07.42) took fourth. Aveni’s time was only .22 seconds slower than her season-best from the Battle of the Blues. Setting season-bests in the event was Kim Hallowes and Leigha Torino. Hallowes crossed the finish line in 2:11.80 and Torino had a time of 2:12.20. Torino’s time was also a personal-best, adding to her personal-best time in the 1,500m on Friday.
Duke had three competitors finish in second place of the invitational high jump sections. Rivers Ridout soared to a personal-best 7-0.50 (2.15), taking second place on the day. Ridout is second in Duke history and is tied for third in the ACC this season.
In the women’s section, Tracy Jander and Cassie Martin both leapt over 5-4.25 (1.63) to finish in a tie for second-place. It is the second runner-up performance for both Jander and Martin this season.
Panton added a second-place finish in the triple jump to her 4x100m relay title. Panton cleared 40-1.50 (12.23) on her sixth and final attempt to move up from fourth place to second.
The women’s pole vault squad took the top two spots in the invitational section, after also doing so at the Battle of the Blues. Madison Heath claimed the top spot by clearing 13-7.25 (4.15). One week after setting her personal-best, Nati Sheppard vaulted over 13-3.50 (4.05) once again to finish in second-place.
Kiegan Lenihan continued his strong spring by finishing in third place in the men’s javelin throw. Lenihan started his day with a throw of 214-1 (65.25) and that carried him to his second consecutive top-three finish.
Price and Campbell both closed out their days with top-three finishes in the 200m. Campbell, who holds the Duke indoor record in the 200m, clocked a time of 23.81 to finish in second place. Price, who is Duke’s record holder in the outdoor 200m, raced to a time of 23.88 to take third place.
Duke held a ceremony honoring the 15 seniors during the meet. On the men’s side, the Blue Devils honored Tionne Barmer, Burton, Travis Closs, Kyle Francis, Josiah Hanko, Alec Kunzweiler, Matt Luppino, Jack Maher, Chase Peterson, Steven Solomon, Colt Sessions, and JR Smith. For the women, Heath, Price and Jasmine Hill were honored.
Duke will have one more weekend of competition prior to the ACC Championships. The Blue Devils will travel to the Penn Relays starting on Thursday, April 26. Duke will also compete in the Virginia Grand Prix on Saturday, April 28.