PHILADELPHIA, PA. – The Duke track and field team got the Penn Relays off to a good start by advancing to the 4x400m relay final as well as racing to strong individual performances on Thursday evening in Franklin Field.
The 4x400m relay team of India Lowe, MacKenzie Kerr, Brittany Aveni and Maddy Price are no strangers to big stages after competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships this season and they showed no fear racing at one of the biggest meets in the country. The quartet raced to a season-best time of 3:37.53 to finish in first place in the qualifying heats and book a spot in Saturday’s Championship of America finals. Price gave the squad a strong finish as she raced to a 52.62 split on the final leg. Duke now has the third-fastest time in the ACC this season.
“The big story of the day is the 4x400,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. “They were the fastest qualifiers and looked sharp and very fast. Madeline (Price), that was a tremendous performance on the anchor leg. The first three legs all ran well too. They have a chance to win it all on Saturday. That’s pretty exciting, we’ve never won. We still have to do it but we’re certainly in the position to go for the win.”
The Blue Devils entered three runners in the women’s 5,000m race and all three left with personal-best times. In her first time competing in the event as a Blue Devil, Amanda Beach blazed to a time of 16:32.17 to finish in sixth place. Also claiming a spot in the top-20 was Gabrielle Richichi, as the New Fairfield, Conn., product clocked a time of 16:52.65 to finish in 16th. Rounding out the Duke squad was Lindsay Billings who crossed the finish line in 17:12.29.
“The highlight was Amanda in her first 5K ever and finishing sixth overall and as the fourth collegian,” Ogilvie said. “Really good for her. Also a really nice race turned in by Gabi Richichi who had a PR by 20 seconds. Two Duke women under 17 minutes on the same night is really good.”
Duke added three more personal-best times in the men’s 5,000m. Nikhil Pulimood did not set a personal-best, but he was Duke’s top finisher, crossing the line in a time of 14:30.26. Racing to personal-best times were classmates Josh Romine and Paul Dellinger as the two rookies finished in 14:40.41 and 14:40.82, respectively. Finally, Tom Sullivan also dropped his personal-best down to 14:49.50.
In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, Michael Ungvarsky ran his second-fastest time of the season, finishing in 9:18.81. That trails only the 9:11.10 that he clocked at the Battle of the Blues.
“Not as fast as he’s ever run, but it was good experience for Mike running in the championship field,” added Ogilvie.
Duke has five events slated for Friday. Rivers Ridout will lead off the day as the top seed in the high jump at 10:00 a.m. The Blue Devils will run in three relays, competing in the men’s 2x200m, as well as the men’s and women’s sprint medley relay Championship of America finals. Finally, Jacob Sobota will enter in the men’s long jump. NBC Sports Network will have a live broadcast from 5:00 p.m., until 6:00 p.m.
“We’re excited to start tomorrow with the men’s high jump with Rivers having a chance to win,” finished Ogilvie. “The 4x200 will see the outdoor debut of Steven Solomon. Then the big sprint medley relay finals. It should be a good day.”