DURHAM, N.C.- A program record 10 athletes departed for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships yesterday morning. Duke is showing its depth with a diverse group of disciplines heading to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Starting off the weekend will be former high school national record holder Curtis Beach in the decathlon. Beach qualified for the championships after taking third at the ACC Championships in early April. He also was named second team All-American after finishing 13th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Beach was also named this year's IC4A Outdoor Champion in the Long Jump. This is Beach's first trip to Outdoor Championships after a hamstring injury ended his season early last year. He will kick off the week for the Blue Devils on Wednesday at noon. Also competing Wednesday will be prelims of the women's 800 and the men' 3,000 steeplechase and finals of javelin and women's 10k.
Cydney Ross will make her NCAA Championships debut in the 800 after a standout indoor and outdoor season. Ross was a member of the All-American DMR team, the Penn Relay Champion 4x800m team and set a new school record with a personal best of 2:05.32 at the IC4A Championships. Ross was also named ACC All-Academic this past indoor season.
Ross will be followed up by Ryan McDermott representing Duke in the men's 3k steeplechase. The senior will be making his second trip to the NCAA Championships after running a tactical race and finishing third at the NCAA first round. McDermott was undefeated in the steeple up until that race with victories at the IC4A Championships and ACC Championships; it was McDermott's third ACC Championship crown in his four years at Duke.
The last time John Austin traveled to Des Moines in the men's javelin he was a sophomore and walked away with All-American honors. Injuries sidelined him in the following years but the fifth year senior pursuing his masters returns to Drake with the opportunity to cap off his Duke career with another All-American title.
The final event Wednesday evening will be the finals of the women's 10,000m. Sophomore Juliet Bottorff and junior Carly Seymour both qualified by finishing fourth and ninth at the NCAA First Round. Both will be making their second trip to the Championships. This will be Bottorff first show in the 10k after qualifying last year in the 5k and finishing 22nd. Bottorff has recorded the sixth best time in the nation this season when she ran 33:18.45 at the Stanford Invitational. Additionally, she was named Indoor All-ACC in the 5,000m with a time of 16:10.38.
Seymour returns after her 22nd finish at last year's Championships. She set a personal best 33:51.42 at the first round and was also able to capture All-ACC accolades when she took third with a time of 34:19.95. Seymour also finished 48th in the fall at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.
Thursday will kick off with the conclusion of the men's decathlon, followed by the women's javelin throw. ACC Champion Andrea Hopkins will be making her first trip to the Championships alongside sophomore teammate Shannon Sullivan. Hopkins has won five of the seven meets she competed in this year, finishing second at the Penn Relays and third in her flight at the NCAA First Round. Sullivan has had a breakout season taking fourth at the ACC Championships and being the only athlete in the first flight at the NCAA First Round to qualify for the Championships. Sullivan had a three meter personal record to take the top spot in her flight and finish sixth overall.
The final two events featuring Duke athletes will be the women's 1,500 and men's 10k. Fifth year senior Kate Van Buskirk will run in her final meet as a Blue Devil in the 1,500. Van Buskirk finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year in the mile and captured an ACC title in the 1,500 in April. She also set a collegiate record in the 1,000 in her first indoor meet this year and anchored the Penn Relay Champion 4x800 relay team.
Senior Bo Waggoner was another big surprise for the Blue Devils when he ran a 31 second personal record at the NCAA First Round. He shot himself from the number 24 seed to finish tenth and currently holds the 15th fastest time in the nation. Waggoner will be pursuing his masters at Harvard next year.
A full schedule of events, live streaming and venue information can be found here