DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s cross country team travels to Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C., Friday, Nov. 1, to compete in the 2013 ACC Cross Country Championships. The course will cover 6,000 meters. The Blue Devils placed second at last year’s conference meet, scoring 67 points and placing six runners in the top 25. Florida State captured the 2012 ACC title, scoring 35 points. The 2013 ACC Championship meet boasts a field of seven teams ranked in the top five in their respective region, as well as five opponents ranked in the top 30 nationally.
The Blue Devils will field 10 runners, three of whom competed in last year’s championship meet.
“Based on practice, the team looks really good,” said Duke head women’s cross country coach Kevin Jermyn. “I think we’ve had enough experiences that they should go into this race with a lot better game plan. We’ve worked out on the course. We have a lot better familiarity with the course. Our hope is to go out and beat a lot of teams that are nationally ranked and start generating positive momentum heading into regionals and nationals.”
Graduate student Juliet Bottorff highlights the Duke squad. In last year’s competition, Bottorff led the Blue Devils with a third-place overall finish. The Newark, Del., native is also the highest returning finisher from last season’s championship meet, with the graduation of last season’s first and second-place finishers. Bottorff, a two-time conference performer of the week, enters the ACC meet following a successful fall of racing that included first-place finishes at the Adidas XC Challenge Sept. 20 and the Notre Dame Invitational Oct. 4. In her most recent competition, Bottorff placed 11th at the highly-competitive Wisconsin Invitational, with over 15 nationally ranked opponents attending the meet.
In addition to Bottorff, juniors Carolyn Baskir and Kelsey Lakowske also return to the ACC Championships after competing in the same race a year ago. Both Baskir and Lakowske enter Friday’s competition with limited race action this season. Baskir competed in her first meet of the season Oct. 19 at the Wisconsin Invitational, placing 209th and running a time of 21:52, while Friday marks the first cross country race in 2013 for Lakowske. At the 2012 conference meet, Lakowske crossed the line as Duke’s second finisher, placing sixth overall, just 13 seconds behind Bottorff. Baskir finished 20th in the championship meet last season, running 21:00.
For freshmen Haley Meier and Hannah Meier, Friday’s competition marks the first championship race of their collegiate careers. In Haley’s most recent performance at the Wisconsin Invitational, the Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., native finished third on the Blue Devil’s squad, her highest intra-squad placing of the season. Hannah Meier suffered an illness earlier in the season, which kept her out of competition until Oct. 19. Prior to the illness, Hannah Meier placed third on the Blue Devils and fourth overall in the Adidas XC Challenge Sept. 20.
Sophomore Anima Banks has been a fixture in Duke’s top-five finishers this season, scoring for the Blue Devils in all three of her appearances. Banks’ strongest showing of the season came at the Notre Dame Invitational Oct. 4, when the Mamaroneck, N.Y., native finished 25th overall and second for the Blue Devils.
Junior Colleen Schmidt toes the line for the third time this season on Friday. In her most recent performance, Schmidt captured a third-place finish at the Royal Cross Country Challenge in Charlotte, N.C. Schmidt set a 5,000m personal record in the competition, covering the distance in 17:46.2.
The contingent of senior Ashley Berry, junior Julianna Miller and sophomore Madison Granger round out the Duke harriers competing Friday. The 2013 season has proven successful for the three runners, who each set a new personal-record at 5,000m Sept. 20, at the Adidas XC Challenge. Berry improved on her previous personal best of 18:09.5 after running 17:52.3, while Miller ran a 17:39.4 and Granger finished in 17:57.0. The competition marked the first time each Blue Devil ran under 18 minutes for 5,000m.
The women’s competition is set for an 11 a.m. start.
For more information on the meet, visit http://theacc.co/XCchamp or follow @ACCTrackField on Twitter and use the hashtag #ACCXC.