JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four Blue Devils earned their spot in the 2012 NCAA Championships. Juniors Andrea Hopkins and Juliet Bottorff along with sophomores Curtis Beach and Michelle Anumba excelled in the heat of Jacksonville, Fla., to finish in the top twelve at the 2012 NCAA First Round to qualify for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championshps in Des Moines, Iowa.
Beach started his day strong by leaping a personal best 24-11.25 (7.60) in the men's long jump. The mark was a one and a half inch improvement and good enough for ninth place overall and more importantly a spot in the NCAA Championships. Of course, after the four hour competition in the heat of the day, the multi-event athlete was a little sunburned but he wasn't finished yet. Later in the evening, the Albuquerque native showed off his middle distance skills by qualifying for the men's 800 quarterfinals with a time of 1:49.70. The quarterfinal heats will be run tomorrow beginning at 7:00 p.m., and will determine the final field for Des Moines.
"The Curtis Beach double was pretty historic," Director of Track and Field Norm Ogilvie commented. "I don't think anyone on the collegiate level has ever jumped 25 feet and gone sub 1:50 on the same day. When he came back to run the 800, he was the only guy in the race who had spent four hours in the hot sun so that was impressive."
Anumba punched her ticket to Des Moines in the women's shot put. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native persevered after a challenging day to finish with a mark of 51-9.75 (15.79) to slide into the 12th and final qualification slot.
Hopkins was the third Blue Devil to earn her way to her second NCAA Outdoor Championships in the women's javelin throw. The Lake Oswego, Ore., native also finished 12th with a mark of 147-11 (45.10). Junior Shannon Sullivan also competed in the event and finished 36th with a mark of 132-00.
"I really feel proud of the competitive toughness of Andrea Hopkins and Michelle Anumba holding on to a 12th place finish. You know, when you go to Des Moines, 12th and first are the same thing because you are there."
Junior Bottorff was the final Blue Devil to earn her slot on day one for the Blue Devils. The Newark, Del., native finished in fifth place in the women's 10,000 meters with a time of 34:25.78. Senior Megan Deakins also competed in the event but had to drop out after four miles due to injury.
"Juliet looked great. Very under control and relaxed. She ran very smart; she wasn't running hard the last lap like some of the others were. She is going to be in great shape in two weeks."
Senior All-American Cydney Ross and freshman Abby Farley also had productive days by qualifying for the women's 800 quarterfinals. Ross ran a season best time of 2:06.87 while Farley finished in 2:08.00 respectively. They will compete for their championship spot tomorrow at 7:15 p.m.
The first round event began early in the day with the men's javelin throwers competing at the peak of the sunny and humid day. Freshman Thomas Lang finished in 22nd place with a mark of 205-0 (62.49). Sophomore Austin Carpenter finished with a mark of 189-7 (57.78) which was good enough for 38th place.
Freshman Carolyn Baskir finished 44th place in the 1,500. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native finished in 4:35.55 in a heat that started out extremely slow through the first 800 meters and proved to be very tactical to finish.
Senior Andrew Brodeur ran his final race as a Blue Devil by finished 18th in the men's 10,000. The Brick, N.J., native finished well ahead of his 31st seed and crossed the linein 30:48.86.
"Overall, I am extremely proud of the way everyone competed. We are excited about the two days still ahead."
The competition will continue tomorrow at 10 a.m. Some of the key events for the Blue Devils include the women's pole vault which will feature the senior Amy Fryt. Sophomore Erica Brand will compete in the women's discus throw while Shaun Thompson will race in the 3,000 steeplechase. Beach, Ross and Farley will also compete for the second time of the weekend in the 800.
A full recap will be available on www.GoDuke.com.