DES MOINES, Iowa – The most successful NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Duke history has come to a close with a national champion, a national runner up and a total of six All-Americans.
In the final Duke event of the meet, fifth-year senior Kate Van Buskirk ran and exceptionally smart 1500m. Starting on the outside, Kate fell back and watched the race develop. Coming through the first 300 in 51.7, Kate stayed patient and hugged the inside of the track.
After 500m, the leaders picked up the pace hoping to catch anyone sleeping. Kate stayed aware and ran with them, staying within striking distance. At 2:03.96 with 800 left, Kate maintained her composure, stuck to her race plan, and held her position waiting to make a move. With the final 400 to go, the pace picked up and Kate moved up into the middle of the pack on the backstretch.
Coming off the final curve, she began picking off runners one by one until all that was left was Sheild Reid of Villanova and Lucy Van Dalen of Stony Brook. Reid took a commanding lead while Van Dalen and Van Buskirk fought for second place. In a sprint to the finish Kate came up only .04 seconds short of the silver medal, finishing in 4:15.37.
With Kate’s six points, Juliet Bottorff's 10, and Cydney Ross’ one, the Duke women finish 16th, a program record at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
And for their efforts, Ross, Bottorff, Van Buskirk and Curtis Beach are named first team all American with Ryan McDermott and John Austin closing out their Duke careers with second team All-American accolades.
Several Duke athletes will be competing in two weeks at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and for those who will not be, this has been a exceptional finish to their collegiate season.