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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Fairleigh, Lakowske Lead Duke Past NC Central
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 09/15/2012
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DURHAM, N.C. - Junior Phil Fairleigh and sophomore Kelsey Lakowske guided the Duke men's and women's cross country teams to a pair of victories over NC Central Saturday in the Blue Devils' annual home meet on the Sally Meyerhoff Fitness Loop, located on the Al Buehler Trail.

This 2012 edition of the dual meet got off to an exciting start as the men's and women's races began in front of a crowd of 8,542 with one lap around the track in Wallace Wade Stadium 15 minutes prior to the kickoff of the Duke-NC Central football game. The runners then proceeded to the Al Buehler Trail before concluding the races on the Sally Meyerhoff Fitness Loop.  

"It was a really good atmosphere for the teams and it was really fun," said men's head coach Norm Ogilvie. "It certainly inspired them to run fast on the hills and they definitely picked up the pace considerably once they got out of the stadium."

Lakowske won the women's 4K race by nearly one minute, crossing the finish line at 14:16 in the first cross country meet of her collegiate career. Led by Lakowske, Blue Devils runners claimed the top five spots to secure the team victory. Junior Colette Whitney came in second with a time of 14:52, followed by classmate Dana Morin in third (14:53), senior Adrianne Soo in fourth (14:58) and junior Brianna Welch in fifth (15:02). Sophomore Abby Farley rounded out the Duke contingent, taking seventh in 15:47.

"It was great to see all of our team out in the stadium," Lakowske said. "This was my first race and I was nervous, so it was nice to have some experienced energy and positivity from my teammates."  

The Blue Devil men also turned in impressive results, earning a sweep with runners in the top eight positions. Fairleigh clocked 18:58 for 6K in a first-place finish, while junior Lucas Talavan-Becker took second at 19:15 and sophomore Brian Schoepfer came in third with a time of 19:20. Freshman Eddie Merenda finished fourth (19:26) and senior Joseph Elsakr fifth (19:39), followed by junior Spencer Pecha, freshman Blake Udland and sophomore Nate McClafferty.

"There were a lot of people there, so it was fun," Fairleigh said. "We were kind of pumping up the crowd a little bit."

"That was a really good performance by Phil Fairleigh," Ogilvie said. "That's a really good time for this particular 6K. It was a good day and it definitely gave some attention to cross country that we normally wouldn't get, so we were very pleased with it."

With the wins over NC Central, the Duke women improve to 5-0 overall and the men move to 4-0 on the season.

The Blue Devil men return to action next weekend at the Panorama Farms Invitational in Charlottesville, Va. Both the men and women will then compete at the Great American Cross Country Festival at the WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. on Sept. 28.