CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Graduate student Mike Moverman and junior Shaun Thompson made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils Saturday, Sept. 28, as the duo debuted for Duke’s men’s cross country team at the Panorama Farms Invitational in Charlottesville, Va. The tandem placed fifth and seventh respectively, and led the Blue Devils (104) to a fourth-place team finish behind meet champions North Carolina (58). Eastern Kentucky (76) and Virginia (101) placed second and third, respectively. After defeating Auburn (106), Liberty (141), Virginia Tech (197), William & Mary (205), California (226), High Point (239), George Mason (294), Ole Miss (337) and UNC-Greensboro (371), Duke improved to 16-5 on the season and 3-2 in ACC competition.
Duke's men's cross country head coach Norm Ogilvie was ecstatic with the performance of his top-three performers, Moverman, Thompson and Atkinson.
"We're super happy with our top-three guys," Ogilvie said. “They ran outstanding. Late in the race, we had three guys in the top ten. The times were fantastic. Breaking 24-minutes on this course is really something. Considering that for Mike and Shaun, this was their first race of the year, it was fantastic."
Moverman, Duke’s school-record holder in the indoor 5,000-meters, showed no signs of rust in his debut, improving his 8,000-meter personal best of 23:58.0 by almost two seconds, crossing the line at Panorama Farms in 23:56.8. Thompson also produced a personal best effort in his opening meet, rallying with 400m remaining in the race to cross the line in 23:57.1. Thompson’s finishing time bested his previous personal record by over four seconds.
Senior Brian Atkinson remained consistent in his second meet of the season, recording a time of 24:08.1, nearly identical to his finishing time at the Furman XC Classic two weeks earlier. The Melbourne Beach, Fla., native moved to the front of the field early in the race and maintained an honest pace before placing 14th overall and third for the Blue Devils.
The debut performance of Moverman left the Easton, Mass., native satisfied with his result, but what he saw from his teammates was even more exciting.
"I was pretty happy with my performance, especially for the first meet of the season, but I was even more happy to see Shaun and Brian running so well," Moverman said. I was really excited for Brian's race, even though he didn't finish where he wanted to be, he ran really aggressive. He was in second place late in the race, so I thought that was really good. Brian was keeping the pace honest, and at one point I thought he was going to get second in the race. He was running really well."
The five-man average of 24:16 marked the fastest five-man average by the Blue Devils on the Panorama Farms course. Seven of Duke's runners covered the course in under 25 minutes, as well. In addition to Moverman, Thompson and Atkinson, Ogilvie also saw positives from a number of other members of the team.
Senior Lucas Talavan-Becker contributed for Duke with a 36th-place finish, in a time of 24:35.3. A product of South San Francisco, Calif., Talavan-Becker improved on his time from last season’s meet at the Panorama Farms by over a minute.
Sophomore William Rooney rounded out the scoring for the Blue Devils, finishing 43rd overall and crossing the line in a time of 24:44.0. Senior Christian Britto teamed with Rooney throughout the race to finish 44th, in a time of 24:46.2.
Sophomore Blake Udland competed at the Panorama Farms for the first time in his college career, recording a time of 24:59.9 and placing 55th overall, whileJunior Phil Fairleigh, Duke’s second finisher at the Furman XC Classic two weeks earlier, placed 59th, in a time of 25:06.7
Stephen Shine, the only freshman to make the trip for the Blue Devils, competed in just his second 8,000m race of his collegiate career, clocking a time of 25:31.5 and finishing 74th.
Duke travels to Charlotte, N.C., in two weeks to compete in the Royals Challenge Friday, Oct. 11.
For full results of the Panorama Farms Invitational, visit here.
1. North Carolina 58
2. Eastern Kentucky 76
3. Virginia 101
4. Duke 104
5. Auburn 106
6. Liberty 141
7. Virginia Tech 197
8. William & Mary 205
9. California 226
10. High Point 239
11. George Mason 294
12. Ole Miss 337
13. UNC-Greensboro 371