DURHAM, N.C. – Duke’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will kick start the 2013 season this Saturday, Aug. 31, with the second running of the Bull City Classic against crosstown rival N.C. Central. The meet is slated for a 3:45 p.m. men’s start, followed by a 3:46 p.m. women’s start. The competition coincides with the kickoff to the Blue Devils’ football season, as the race is scheduled to begin in Wallace Wade Stadium just 15 minutes prior to the Duke vs. N.C. Central football game. Although only the second year the dual-meet and football game conjunction is officially titled the “Bull City Classic,” the athletic history between the two universities goes back much further.
“Duke and North Carolina Central have shared a rich tradition in track and field dating back half a century with the partnership between Duke’s Al Buehler and NC Central’s Le Roy Walker,” Duke men’s head cross country coach Norm Ogilvie said. “More recently, Duke has had its season opener with N.C. Central in cross country as a way to get in some early competition on the same Duke Forest trails that both schools use for daily training. Last year, the meet was moved to mid-September to coincide with the Bull City Classic football game, which seemed only natural to the cross-country team since we already called the cross country meet the ‘Bull City Classic.’ We happily returned the meet to opening weekend this year to again give us the opportunity to face Central in front of a football sized crowd. It’s great exposure for our long distance harriers, who often toil in obscurity on the Duke Forest trails.”
The dual-meet marks the fifth consecutive running of the event; however Saturday’s competition will only be the second year that the meet occurred on the same day as the Duke vs. N.C. Central football game. In its inaugural year, the runners experienced a special start to the race, leaving the start-line in front of 8,542 fans in Wallace Wade Stadium, before rounding the track, exiting the stadium and proceeding to the Al Buehler Trail. The race will follow the same course as last year, concluding on the Sally Meyerhoff Fitness Loop.
The starting of this year’s Bull City Classic will include honorary starters. Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White will fire the starter’s pistol for the men’s 6-kilometer race, followed one minute later by N.C. Central’s Director of Athletics Ingrid Wicker-McCree, who will do the same to mark the start of the women’s 4-kilometer race.
Duke’s men’s cross country team will field a young squad to ease the new members of the team into intercollegiate competition. Four sophomores and three freshmen will toe the line for the Blue Devils. Sophomores Eddie Merenda, Blake Udland, William Hague and William Rooney will all begin their 2013 seasons on Saturday afternoon. The freshman trio of Stephen Shine, Weston Carvalho and Aaron Liberatore will all don the Duke singlet for the first time in their Blue Devil careers.
On the women’s side, head coach Kevin Jermyn will start a more experienced group, including one senior, two juniors, and two freshmen. Senior Dana Morin and junior Abby Farley will both participate in their second running of the Bull City Classic, while junior Colleen Schmidt and freshmen Gina Daniel and Grace Chang will compete in the event for the first time.
Due to the Duke vs. N.C. Central football game, traffic patterns and parking will be affected. Please visit GoDuke.com for parking and traffic related information.