EUGENE, Ore. – Graduate student Juliet Bottorff secured the third NCAA Outdoor Track & Field All-America honor of her career Thursday after placing third in the final of the women’s 10,000 in Eugene, Ore. In addition to Bottorff, Duke also fielded a women’s 4x400 relay at nationals for the first time in school history.
Bottorff, finishing in a time of 32:37.46, became the first female in Duke history to secure three outdoor track & field All-America honors, earning her previous two in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Bottorff won the national title in the 10,000, earning First Team All-America honors, while in 2012, the Newark, Del., native garnered Second Team All-America honors after placing 14th at the same distance.
Bottorff, competing in her fourth outdoor national championship, showcased her experience throughout the race, exhibiting no signs of nerves as the contest unfolded. After settling into the front of the pack in the early stages, Bottorff clocked nearly identical miles over the first 3,200, running splits of 5:17.25 and 5:18.72, respectively. Michigan freshman Erin Finn took over the lead just after the 4,000m mark, eventually causing a pack of six, including Bottorff, to separate from the remainder of the field.
Biding her time in the pack, Bottorff waited until one mile remained before making a move, swinging out to lane two and passing Erin Finn to take over the lead.
“I left it up to her when to go,” said Associate Head Coach Kevin Jermyn. “We generally talked about a certain distance. It was really windy out so it wasn’t easy to lead. Right around the mile, I gave her the green light to consider going if she felt good. We felt like it was another advantage to try and make a long drive to the finish as opposed to just an all-out last 200 or 400 to maximize her position in the race.”
Bottorff held the lead with 400 meters remaining before Boise State’s Emma Bates and Alabama Birmingham’s Elinor Kirk moved ahead. Although putting in a valiant effort in response to the move of Bates and Kirk, Bottorff was unable to maintain the closing pace of her competitors, holding her third-place position as she crossed the line.
The women’s 4x400, comprised of juniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski and freshman Madeline Kopp, kick started the competition for Duke with a 17th-place overall finish in the semifinal round of the event, clocking a time of 3:36.34. Hansson and Kopp opened the relay for the Blue Devils in heat one, covering the first two legs in a combined time of 1:49.19. After receiving the baton from Kopp in seventh place, Maslowski clocked the fifth-fastest penultimate leg in the field, running a 400m split of 53.42 and moving Duke into the fifth position. Kerpon, the anchor for every Duke 4x400 this season, covered the final 400 in a time of 53.74, crossing the line in sixth for the Blue Devils.
Bottorff returns to the track for the final of the 5,000, scheduled for Saturday at 6:24 p.m.
“[Juliet] was really good running the 5k this year so we feel pretty optimistic that she can contend for an All-American position,” Jermyn said. “We haven’t done a lot of doubling in her career until this year. Indoor she ran a 5k and 3k double at the ACC indoor meet, and she felt really good during the 3k. Then she did it at ACC outdoors and again at the prelim meet, so she’s gained a lot of experience and she’s handled doubling well so far this year. I think she’s really happy how she performed, like she left it all out there today. She couldn’t have done any better, but I think she has a little more fire and a little more competitiveness in her that I think she wants to go out there and do something she’s never done before.”