GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Blue Devils competed against 25 teams Saturday morning at the inaugural running of the Furman Cross Country Classic. Duke narrowly missed finishing second among the nine Division I opponents, recording 64 points to High Point’s 63. Host Furman took first place in Division I competition with a score of 35 points. Duke opened conference competition 2-0, defeating both ACC opponents, Georgia Tech and Clemson, who scored 70 points and 153 points, respectively. The Blue Devils improved their record to 7-2 on the season against Division I opponents.
Furman University’s golf course proved to be fast, with nearly every Duke runner covering the 8,000-meter distance in a personal record time. Duke finished the competition with two runners in the top 10 and seven runners in the top 21. Duke's men's cross country coach Norm Ogilvie had mixed feelings regarding the day's results.
“I thought our guys ran a little tentative today,” Ogilvie said. “The times were very fast, which probably means the course was slightly short, so we can’t get really excited about that. I hoped our guys would compete a little better. We didn’t have our number one or three man, today. Still, it was a solid race from Brian Atkinson. Phil Fairleigh running as our number two for the first time ever was also a good race.”
Senior Brian Atkinson opened his 2013 season with a sixth-place overall finish. Atkinson was the top runner for the Blue Devils, covering the 8,000-meter course in a time of 24:08.58. Junior Phil Fairleigh, the second runner to cross the line for Duke, finished ninth overall in a time of 24:14.55. Farleigh bettered his personal best time of 24:53 from last season.
Ogilvie was also pleased with the effort put forth by a pair of his young runners, sophomore William Rooney and freshman Stephen Shine. The two worked together throughout the race to finish 15th and 16th, respectively. Rooney posted a time of 24:30.50 and Shine completed his first collegiate 8,000-meter race and followed his win at the Bull City Classic with a time of 24:31.37. Rooney’s time bested his personal record from last year by over two minutes.
Seniors Lucas Talavan-Becker and Christian Britto and sophomore Blake Udland also saw personal records fall Saturday morning, with Talavan-Becker racing to a time of 24:33.64, Britto running a time of 24:36.57, and Udland rounding out the top seven in a time of 24:44.73. Britto’s finishing time bested his previous personal record of 24:49 and Udland significantly improved his personal record of 26:24 from a year ago. Talavan-Becker also bettered his personal record of 24:54 from two seasons ago.
Ogilvie is looking forward to the men’s cross country team’s opportunity to compete in two weeks in Charlottesville, Va.
“We plan to come back with a vengeance in Virginia in two weeks.”
The Blue Devils will return to action Saturday, Sept. 28, competing in the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in Charlottesville, Va. The meet will provide a preview of the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship meet, held Friday, Nov. 15.
For full results of Saturday’s competition, visit here.
1. Furman 35
2. High Point 63
3. Duke 64
4. Georgia Tech 70
5. Georgia 146
6. Clemson 153
7. College of Charleston 212
8. Robert Morris 244
9. St. Francis (Pa.) 257