DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke track and field team start its indoor campaign Saturday at the Carolina Cup. Today we take a look at the team’s distance runners.
The Blue Devils return all of their key contributors from the 2017 season. Leading the way will be junior Nikhil Pulimood. Pulimood clocked Duke’s best time in the indoor 3,000 meter run (8:22.50) and the outdoor 5,000 meters (14:35.49) in 2017, both of which were personal-bests. He also was one of the top performers during the most recent cross country season, picking up his first collegiate victory at the Winthrop Invitational and setting a new personal-best time in the 8K when he crossed the finish line in 24:22.9 at the ACC Cross Country Championships.
Junior Stephen Garrett covered the longer distances for Duke, racing in the indoor 5,000 meters and the outdoor 10,000 meters. He took home the title in the 5,000 meter at the Armory Invitational as he had a season-best time of 14:39.89 and qualified for the ACC Indoor Championships in the same event. He had a time of 30:44.08, the best of any Duke runner, in the 10,000 meters at the Tennessee Relays to finish in second place.
Matt Wisner returns after earning the team’s top indoor freshman award. The highlight of Wisner’s season came when he broke the school record in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.10 at the ACC Indoor Championships. He earned first place finishes in the event at the VT Challenge and Carolina Cup. Wisner also contributed to the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team that placed first at the Armory Invitational and Hokie Invitational as well as qualifying for the ACC Indoor Championships.
Senior Kyle Francis returns for his fourth season. Francis finished in first place in the indoor 800 meters at the Hokie Invitational in 2017. He was a member of the indoor 4x400 meter relay team that ran the second-fastest time (3:14.13) in Duke history at the ACC Championships.
The Blue Devils will look for their crop of freshmen to build off strong performances during the cross country season. Paul Dellinger was named ACC Freshman of the Week during his debut campaign. Alex Miley led Duke at two meets, including a sixth-place finish at the ECU Pirates Invitational. Josh Romine and Michael Ungvarsky were among the ten Duke runners to race at the ACC Cross Country Championships.
Duke will be trying to build off a strong cross country campaign that had the Blue Devils finishing in seventh at the ACC Championships.
Junior Kim Hallowes earned second-team All-America honors in 2016 as a member of the Duke DMR team. Last year, she set personal-bests in the 600 meters (1:36.69), the 800 meters (2:09.86) and the 1,000 meters (2:53.14) during indoors and qualified for the ACC Championships in the 800 and the DMR.
Junior Liz Lansing competed in the mile during the indoor season and the 1,500 meters outdoors. She set a personal-best in both events, covering the mile in 4:49.68 at the ACC Indoor Championships and the 1,500 meters in 4:23.29 at the ACC Outdoor Championships where she finished in eighth place.
Junior Gabrielle Richichi was the top Duke runner in both the indoor and outdoor 3,000 meters and the outdoor 5,000 meters. The New Fairfield, Conn., native set personal-bests in all three events, clocking times of 9:41.22 and 9:57.88 in the indoor and outdoor 3,000 meters repectively and a time of 17:11.63 in the 5,000 meters. The performances in the indoor 3,000m and outdoor 5,000m came in the ACC Championships.
Sophomores Brittany Aveni, Sarah Armstrong and Lindsay Billings will try to build on solid debut seasons. Aveni ran the fifth-fastest time in Duke history in the indoor 600 meters when she clocked a time of 1:33.48 to finish in second place at the Hokie Invitational. She also qualified for the ACC Indoor Championships in the indoor 800 meters and ran a season-best time of 2:11.17. Outdoors, the Geneva, Ohio native took first place in the 800m at the Duke Invitational with a season-best time of 2:06.61 and finished in seventh place at the ACC Championships.
Billings qualified for the ACC Outdoor Championships in the 5,000 meters while Armstrong competed at the ACC Indoor Championships in the mile run.
Like the men, the women have a strong group of freshmen who will try to continue their success from the cross country season. Michaela Reinhart and Amanda Beach were the top two Duke finishers in all six races they competed in. The pair were at their best in the ACC Championships where Reinhart finished in 16th and Beach right behind her in 17th place, earning both All-ACC honors. Reinhart added to her honors by taking home ACC Freshman of the Year accolades.
The Blue Devils begin their season Saturday, Jan. 13, when they travel down the road to Chapel Hill for the Carolina Cup. The meet gets underway at noon in Eddie Smith Field House on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Live results can be found here.