Terra Haute, Ind. – Seven members of the Duke men’s cross country team toed the line in Terra Haute, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 19, for the Pre-Nationals blue race. The Blue Devils improved their record to 58-19 overall and 7-2 against ACC opponents after scoring 586 points and placing 15th out of 52 teams.
The Pre-Nationals field showcased a number of nationally ranked teams. No. 2 Colorado captured the overall team title with 90 points and No. 4 Oregon finished second with 113 points. Iona rounded out the top three with 126 points. The fourth through 14th-place finishers included No. 29 Stanford (148), No. 9 Tulsa (159), No. 10 Princeton (276), No. 1 Oklahoma State (300), No. 19 Boise State (313), Oklahoma (409), Southern Utah (425), Butler (444), Cal Poly (464), Montana State (524) and Kansas (527).
With postseason competition just two weeks away, Duke men’s head cross country coach Norm Ogilvie looked for an aggressive start from his squad in the 359-runner field Saturday.
“We didn't get out particularly well. We kind of got buried a little bit. It was hard for us to move up throughout the rest of the field. We did move up through the race. [The team] went out kind of how I was looking for,” Ogilvie said. “I wanted them to go out somewhere between 4:40 and 4:45 in the mile and they went out in a 4:44.”
After seeing a number of competitors make an aggressive start and fade as the race progressed, Ogilvie recognizes the “fine line” between aggressive racing and smart racing.
Senior Brian Atkinson led all Blue Devils with an 88th-place finish Saturday. The Melbourne Beach, Fla., native ran a time of 24:31.62 and crossed the line as the third ACC finisher in the competition.
Junior Shaun Thompson, competing in his second meet of the season, finished one second behind Atkinson, covering the 8,000-meter LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in a time of 24:32.86. Thompson placed 96th overall and crossed the line as the seventh ACC competitor.
Graduate student Mike Moverman and senior Christian Britto placed 115th and 116th, respectively. Moverman and Britto crossed the finish within a second of one another, with Moverman clocking a 24:43.08 and Britto finishing in 24:43.54. Britto set a personal record and closed the gap between Duke’s first through fourth runner to less than 15 seconds.
Sophomore William Rooney placed fifth for the Blue Devils and 171st overall. A product of Darien, Conn., Rooney recorded a time of 25:05.75 in his fourth race of 2013.
Senior Lucas Talavan-Becker and junior Brian Schoepfer finished sixth and seventh for the Blue Devils and 230th and 243rd, respectively. Talavan-Becker ran a time of 25:19.88. Schoepfer finished in a time of 25:23.45 following a personal-best effort of 25:02.2 at the Royal Cross Country Challenge a week earlier.
The trio of freshman Stephen Shine, sophomore Blake Udland and junior Nate McClafferty competed in the Pre-Nationals open competition Saturday, with Shine finishing first for the Blue Devils and 16th overall in a time of 25:47.23. Udland placed 20th overall in a time of 25:52.52 and McClafferty concluded the open race for the Blue Devils, running 26:27.71, which placed him 46th overall.
Pre-Nationals marked the conclusion of regular season competition for the Blue Devils. Duke will travel to Kernersville, N.C., Friday, Nov. 1, to compete in the ACC Championship meet.