CARY, N.C. – Duke’s fourth-ranked women’s cross country team was crowned meet champion at the 20th running of the Adidas XC Challenge Friday, Sept. 20, after the Blue Devils placed five runners in the top 10 and eight runners in the top 15. Duke’s score of 24 in the Women’s Division I 5k bettered ACC opponents NC State (38) and North Carolina (87).
Duke women’s cross country coach Kevin Jermyn left the meet pleased with the effort that he saw from his squad and feeling confident that early season lessons were learned.
“The end result is real good,” Jermyn said. “We were probably more tentative at the start than what I had envisioned. We ran real smart, but when you put 200 more people in front of you, in a bigger race, it can be more crowded and it can be hard to move around them. We got a lot accomplished. This race will give us an idea of what to focus on in our practices and in our next upcoming race.”
Graduate student Juliet Bottorff took full advantage of the cool weather, leading the way for the Blue Devils. Bottorff covered the first half of the 5,000-meter course conservatively before dropping the pace and running a negative-split en route to a new course record of 16:28.9. Bottorff’s time eclipsed her previous personal best at the same distance by 30 seconds.
The trio of freshmen, Wesley Frazier, Haley Meier and Hannah Meier debuted in impressive fashion for Duke, placing third, fourth and seventh, respectively. Frazier and Haley Meier worked together throughout the race and finished less than a second apart from one another, with Frazier crossing the line in 17:15.4 and Haley Meier finishing in 17:15.8. Hannah Meier played a pivotal role in securing the victory for the Blue Devils, placing ahead of NC State’s fourth runner in a time of 17:31.3.
Sophomore Anima Banks, junior Julianna Miller and senior Ashley Berry rounded out the top seven for the Blue Devils. Banks recorded a personal best time of 17:38.4 and placed ninth overall while Miller also bested her personal best time, placing 10th in a time of 17:39.4. Berry dropped nearly 20 seconds from her 5,000-meter time from last year, running a time of 17:52 and placing 12th in the process.
Also finishing inside the top 30 included sophomore Madison Granger who placed 13th at 17:57.0 and sophomore Allison Sturges who recorded a time of 18:27.3 to finish 23rd. Graduate student Sophia Ziemian, freshman Grace Chang and junior Abby Farley placed 25th, 29th and 30th respectively. Ziemian notched a time of 18:33.7, while Chang ran a time of 18:40.2 and Farley posted a time of 18:45.8.
Jermyn stressed the importance of tough competition leading up to the meet. With NC State ranked third in the Southeast Region and North Carolina ranked fourth in the Southeast Region, the Duke head coach was happy with his team’s results.
“It was a good start, and hopefully it’s a building base for us to train smarter and race better in two more weeks.”
Full results of the meet can be found here.
Duke returns to action Friday, Oct., 4 at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.