CLEMSON, S.C. – The Duke men’s and women’s track and field teams opened day one of the ACC Indoor Championships with impressive showings from both the multi-event athletes and distance medley relays. The Duke women’s distance medley was crowned conference champions after becoming the first Duke DMR to place first at the ACC Indoor Championship since 2007, while redshirt sophomore Karli Johonnot earned a second-place finish in the pentathlon to lead the Duke multi-event athletes. The efforts catapulted the Duke women into first place with 23 points after two events. The men sit in seventh-place with two points after one event.
The Duke women hold an 11 point lead over second place North Carolina. Maryland accumulated 10 points in day one of competition, and currently sit in third, while Notre Dame (8), Wake Forest (5), Virginia Tech (5), Florida State (4), Syracuse (4), Boston College (3), Virginia (3) and Miami (1) round out the teams in the women’s competition.
In the men’s competition, Notre Dame leads with 10 points after winning the DMR. Georgia Tech sits in second with eight points, while North Carolina (6), Virginia Tech (4), Virginia (4), NC State (3) and Syracuse (1), comprise the other teams who have scored in the first event of the meet.
The Duke women’s DMR of sophomore Anima Banks, junior Lauren Hansson, junior Abby Farley and graduate student Audrey Huth captured the title in the event after running what amounted to a tactical race.
“The way [the DMR was won] was very exciting because there wasn’t really a conclusion until late in the race,” Duke Associate Track and Field Coach Kevin Jermyn said. “It was a real positive close to Thursday evening and hopefully it gets everyone excited for Friday and Saturday. We have some special things team-wise going on, heading into Friday.”
Banks led off the relay with a 3.26.26 1200 leg before handing the baton to Hansson in fifth place. After splitting a time of 54.97 for 400m leg, and moving up one place, Hansson handed off to Farley. Farley, receiving the baton in a pack, made a convincing move during the 800m leg of the relay and positioned the Blue Devils in second place with a 2:10.04 split. In the final, 1600m leg of the relay, Huth remained poised and confident in second, waiting until 400m remained before passing the lead runner and holding off Notre Dame’s anchor leg over the final 200m to place Duke first. Huth closed the relay in a 4:44.32 mile split. The DMR finished in a time of 11:15.57, ahead of second-place finishing Notre Dame, which clocked an 11:16.59. The Duke victory secured 10 points toward the team total.
“They ran well,” Jermyn said. “They feel good about themselves. They have confidence, and maybe they even relax a little bit, allowing some of the fitness to come out more naturally. Once you get a good start, you get into a groove. You get a good level of tired and a very positive level of confidence, so I expect they’re going to go into this weekend in a state where they’re confident and relaxed.”
Earlier in the day, the conference championship opened with the women’s pentathlon. Johonnot amassed a point total of 4,003 over the five-event competition to place second overall and secure eight points for the Blue Devils in the team score. In addition to Johonnot, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski and senior Miray Seward earned an additional five points for Duke after placing sixth and seventh, respectively. Maslowski collected 3,776 points during the competition while Seward earned 3,624.
Johonnot opened the competition by setting a personal-best time of 8.93 in the 60m hurdles before nearly matching her career-best in the high jump, clearing 5-10.50 (1.79). The Las Vegas, Nev., native closed the competition by posting a season-best 800 time of 2:22.73.
Maslowski and Seward saw similar success Thursday afternoon. Maslowski improved on her personal-best long jump mark by recording a jump of 19-0.75 (5.81) on her first attempt of the day, while also running a season-best 800 time of 2:19.87. Seward bested her previous personal record of 8.97 in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.89, while also out jumping her previous personal best in the long jump with a mark of 18-0.50 (5.50). Similar to Johonnot and Maslowski, Seward also ran a season-best time in the 800 Thursday, finishing in 2:31.70.
Duke Associate Head Track and Field Coach Shawn Wilbourn is excited for the prospect of later competition for Johonnot and Maslowski, who are set to compete in additional events later in the competition.
“It is tough because of the demanding nature of doing the multi, but they are very competitive,” Wilbourn said. “They’re excited and eager to get back in there and do it again. Doing well in the multi definitely gives them some confidence to come back and compete.”
In the men’s heptathlon, a number of personal records fell in day one of the two-day competition. Redshirt senior Curtis Beach concluded the first day of the heptathlon in first place, accumulating 3,203 points. Sophomore Robert Rohner sits in second after four events with 3,098 points and junior Ian Rock remains in fifth place with 2,935 points.
Beach opened the heptathlon with a 60m dash time of 7.11 before a season-best long jump mark of 24-10.50 (7.58). The Albuquerque, N.M., native finished day one with a season-best mark in the high jump of 6-5.00 (1.96).
Rohner saw more personal records fall than any of his Duke counterparts Thursday, starting with his 6.87 60m dash time, which not only bettered his previous best of 6.94 but also moved him into fourth on Duke’s all-time list. Rohner followed the record-setting performance with a 42-11.75 (13.10) effort in the shot put, surpassing the 42-foot barrier for the first time in his career. Rohner was not done, however, clearing 6-5.00 (1.96) to shatter his previous personal best of 5-10.00 (1.78).
Rock also improved on a previous personal best in the high jump, clearing 6-6.25 (1.99) for the first time in his career. Rock finished the 60m dash in a time of 7.21 and posted distances of 22-5.25 (6.84) and 36-7.75 (11.17) in the long jump and shot put, respectively.
“The guys are looking really good,” Wilbourn said. “Curtis is on pace to qualify for NCAAs. That was the goal of this, to get the 10 points and qualify for NCAAs. He’s definitely on pace to do that. He had a great first day, with an indoor personal record in the long jump and the second best 60 he’s ever run. Just a solid day. Robert Rohner is starting to blossom. Rohner had personal records in the 60 and the shot put, with a big personal record in the high jump. He’s going to have a nice score. Ian Rock competed well today. Rock is on pace to qualify for NCAAs.”
Competition concluded Thursday with the men’s DMR. The Duke foursome of junior Henry Farley, senior Marcus Wright, freshman Alec Kunzweiler and junior Nate McClafferty placed seventh overall after running a time of 9:55.76. Farley led off with a 3:01.64 1200m leg before Wright received the baton and covered the 400m leg in a time of 50.59. Wright handed the baton off to Kunzweiler who ran the 800m leg in a time of 1:55.77 before McClafferty evenly ran a time of 4:07.77 as the anchor. The relay earned Duke two points for its efforts.
Action resumes Friday morning at 11 a.m. with the heptathlon 60m hurdles. Live coverage of the conference championship will be broadcast on ESPN3 beginning at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.
WOMEN’S TEAM SCORING
(After 2 events)
1. Duke 23
2. North Carolina 12
3. Maryland 10
4. Notre Dame 8
5. Virginia Tech 5
5. Wake Forest 5
7. Florida State 4
7. Syracuse 4
9. Boston College 3
9. Virginia 3
11. Miami 1