CLEMSON, S.C. – Two Duke track and field competitors were crowned ACC Champions Friday, as both redshirt senior Curtis Beach and graduate student Juliet Bottorff highlighted the final ACC Indoor Championships of their careers. In addition to Beach and Bottorff, a number of teammates placed in the top eight of their respective events. After two days of competition, the men sit in first place with 44 points, while the Duke women’s track and field team ended day two in second place with 37 points.
Beach accumulated a score of 5,987 points over the seven-event contest to win the conference championship Friday afternoon during day two of the 2014 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Beach’s point total of 5,987 not only led the nation at the time the heptathlon concluded, but also bypassed the previous meet record of 5,881.
Beach is no stranger to standing atop the ACC Indoor Championships podium, winning the same event at the conference championship in 2012. After concluding day one of the heptathlon with 3,203 points, Beach returned to competition Friday with a time of 8.30 in the 60-meter hurdles. After posting a strong showing in the pole vault, winning the event with a clearance of 16-4.75 (5.00), Beach closed the heptathlon with a time of 2:31.83 (2:29.77 converted) in the 1,000.
“This is my last ACC Indoor Championships,” Beach said. “Looking back to my freshman year, where the program was, we were just starting to make the turn from being a pretty good team to, after four years, us having a great multi squad. [Ian & I] finishing in first and second today. Robert [Rohner] third on Duke’s all-time list. We’re becoming an elite program. Not just the multis, but all around, and it’s pretty special.”
Bottorff, also familiar with the podium, successfully defended her 5,000m conference title after winning the event in a time of 15:59.40 (15:49.23 converted). Bottorff worked through the pack in the early stages of the race, covering the first mile in 5:11. At the two-mile mark, Bottorff responded to a move made by Florida State’s Hannah Walker that separated the two from the remainder of the field. With less than five laps to go, Bottorff took the lead from Walker and did not relinquish her position, closing strong for her second consecutive ACC title.
Joining Beach in the multi was junior Ian Rock, who saw a career performance over the two-day competition, amassing a personal-record score of 5,510. Rock earned a second-place finish and eight points for the Blue Devils’ team score. Rock, starting day two competition in fifth-place, clocked a personal-best time of 8.56 in the 60m hurdles. Rock followed the personal-best time by recording a height of 16-4.75 (5.00) in the pole vault, an event the Davis, Calif., native has excelled in throughout this season. Rock closed out the competition with a time of 2:42.71 in the 1,000.
“It’s good to get some points on the board for Duke and get our men’s team in the right place to hopefully do some big things this weekend,” Rock said.
Sophomore Robert Rohner rounded out the Duke competitors in the heptathlon, placing fifth overall with a personal-best score of 5,299. Like Rock, Rohner broke myriad personal bests, with a majority falling on day one of competition. Rohner’s fifth-place finish earned Duke four additional points.
In total, the three Duke multi-even athletes accumulated 22 points for the Blue Devils.
Senior high jumper Tanner Anderson competed in just three meets this season, but Duke’s jumps coach Jan Ogilvie’s cautious approach to Anderson’s indoor season paid off as the Valdese, N.C., native placed second overall after clearing 7-3.00 (2.21). The second-place finish secured eight points for Duke in the team scoring.
“It’s been so long since I’ve finally jumped well again,” Anderson said. “I’ve had a lot of injuries lately, so coach and I made a solid plan for the year. I didn’t start early on in some meets. I was in the training room every day, and it helped. I got my knee feeling better, I ended up coming in for New York, and it all culminated to this point.”
Anderson entered the competition at 6-5.50 (1.97) after passing at the opening height of 6-3.50 (1.92). Following a clearance at 6-5.50 (1.97) on his first attempt, Anderson passed at 6-7.50 (2.02) and cleared his next height of 6-9.50 (2.07), also on his first attempt. Anderson cleared both 6-11.50 (2.12) and 7-1.75 (2.18) on his third attempts, not allowing the fear of missing on his third attempt hamper his ability to clear the height.
“I attribute [being able to get over the bar on the third attempt] to Coach Ogilvie,” Anderson said. “She really helps me calm my nerves. The main phrase this week was ‘attack and relax.’ You have to attack the bar and relax while you’re doing it. Sometimes it’s hard to deal with it when you miss, but you just have to reset and deal with it because you get another attempt to clear the height.”
In addition to Anderson, redshirt junior Michael Krone and sophomore Carl Heinz also contributed points to the team score, placing sixth and eighth, respectively, in the high jump. Krone cleared a height of 6-9.50 (2.07) on his second attempt, while Heinz cleared the same height on his third attempt. In all, the high jump trio earned 12 points for Duke.
Redshirt sophomore Karli Johonnot, competing in the women’s high jump final, placed seventh with a clearance of 5-9.75 (1.77), nearly matching her best mark from the pentathlon high jump one day earlier, when she recorded a mark of 5-10.50 (1.79).
In the throws, redshirt senior Michelle Anumba added two points to Duke’s point total after placing seventh in the women’s weight throw. Anumba’s seventh-place throw came on her fourth attempt, as the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native launched a throw of 61-5.50 (18.73) for a personal best distance.
Friday also saw multiple Duke competitors qualify for the finals, scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
In the 60m hurdles, senior Hannah Goranson ran a time of 8.64 to reach the finals, matching her season best. Goranson is set to compete in the indoor conference final of the 60m hurdles for the first time in her career.
The Duke duo of freshman Madeline Kopp and junior Elizabeth Kerpon secured qualifying times of 55.15 (54.43 converted) and 55.29 (54.57 converted), respectively, in the 400. Kopp, the current school record holder in the event and Kerpon, the former school record holder in the event, look to add points for the Duke women’s team score.
Sophomore Anima Banks, the leadoff leg of the ACC Champion distance medley relay, stepped on to the track for the preliminary rounds of the women’s 800 Friday. Banks placed second in her heat and ran the fifth fastest time of 2:08.10 (2:06.64 converted), to move onto the finals.
In the men’s mile, the Duke pair of juniors Brian Schoepfer and Nate McClafferty both qualified for the finals scheduled for Saturday. Schoepfer covered the distance in a time of 4:08.44 (4:05.31 converted) while McClafferty posted the 10th-fastest time in prelims after clocking a 4:10.07 (4:06.92 converted). Duke is the only school to qualify more than one runner for the final in the event.
In the women’s mile, freshman Haley Meier earned a spot in the final after recording a time of 4:47.65 (4:44.84 converted), the sixth-fastest prelim time. Meier is one of three freshmen who qualified for the final.
In the final event of the evening, the men’s 5,000, graduate student Mike Moverman placed fifth in a time of 14:07.65 (13:58.67 converted), followed by junior Shaun Thompson, who placed eighth in a time of 14:12.83 (14:03.79 converted). Moverman responded to a number of moves made by the field en route to his fifth-place finish while Thompson recovered from a fall early in the race, also working through the field throughout the race.
Duke concludes competition at the conference championship Saturday. The final day of the conference championship will air live on ESPN3, beginning at 12 p.m.