DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s cross country team welcomes seven student-athletes to the 2018-19 campaign as the Blue Devils received commitments from Devin Connell, Charles Cooper, Joe Cullen, Carter Dillion, Will Dixon, Matt Politis and Chris Theodore.
A closer look at each future Blue Devil:
Devin Connell, a native of Andover, Mass., heads into his senior track and field season at Andover High School with a personal-best time 800-meter time of 1:53.96. Connell has excelled in the 1,000-meters during his prep career, clocking a personal-best time of 2:30.57. He finished in third place in the 2017 Massachusetts Indoor Track and Field State Championships in the 1,000-meter and in fourth place in the 2018 edition.
“Devin is one of New England’s top middle distance runners who should develop nicely training with the other very good mid-distance recruits in this class,” said head coach Norm Ogilvie.
Charles Cooper comes to Duke with three seasons of eligibility remaining after an outstanding collegiate career at Georgetown University. Cooper has raced to strong personal-best times in the 600-meter (1:21.68), 800-meter (1:49.88), 1,000-meter (2:24.68) and mile (4:04.39) races. The Montreal, Canada native finished in fourth place in the 800m at the 2017 Big East Outdoor Championships and in third place in the mile at the IC4A/ECAC Indoor Championships.
“Charles in addition to excellent PR’s, will bring experience and maturity that only graduate students can deliver,” said Ogilvie. “He is a great addition to this class.”
Joe Cullen is a native of Wyomissing, Penn., and currently attends Wyomissing High School, which he helped lead to the Pennsylvania State Cross Country team championship. Cullen was a senior captain on the cross country team. Cullen was the Eastern States Champion in the 800-meter in 2017 and he was a silver medalist in the mile and the 4x800-meter relay at the 2017 Pennsylvania track and field state championship meet. Cullen has personal-best times of 1:53.56 in the 800-meter and 4:13.7 in the mile run.
“Joe should continue a strong tradition at Duke of outstanding middle distance runners from Pennsylvania,” Ogilvie said. “I loved his leadership last fall at the Pennsylvania cross country championships as he led his high school team to the state title.”
Carter Dillon hails from Highlands Ranch, Colo., and helped lead Mountain Vista High School to the 2017 Colorado state Cross Country team championship. Dillon finished in sixth place individually at the Colorado 5A cross country meet and in 29th place at the Nike Cross Nationals. Dillon has recorded personal-best times of 1:55.66 in the 800m, 4:12.91 in the 1,600m and 9:39.49 in the 3,200m, all of which came at high altitude. Dillon also has a personal-best time of 14:32 in the three mile.
“Carter’s ten second 1,600m PR just last weekend brought him to a whole new level nationally,” said Ogilvie. “His 4:12.91 at altitude converts to roughly 4:06 at sea level, which would make him one of our fastest high school recruits ever. Carter also has excelled in cross country, earning All-America honors at the NXN meet.”
Will Dixon, a native of Superior, Colo., is wrapping up his final outdoor season at Monarch High School. Dixon ran the leadoff leg of the 4x800m relay that won the Colorado state championship. He has personal-bests of 1:56.76 for the 800m and 4:23.75 in the 1,600m, both of which came at high altitude.
“Will has been one of the best mid-distance runners in Colorado the last two years” Ogilvie said. “But I’m also optimistic about his ability to contribute at the Division One level in cross country.”
Matt Politis begins to close his decorated prep career at Pearl River High School in Pearl River, N.Y. Politis anchored Pearl River’s sprint medley relay team at the New Balance Indoor Nationals and his personal-best split of 1:53.3 in the final 800m helped the team finish in third place, earning high school All-America honors. Politis also finished as the champion of the Manhattan cross country Varsity C race in Van Cortland Park. He has personal-bests of 2:29.04 in the 1,000m and 4:15.26 in the mile.
“This young man is a fierce competitor, especially with a relay baton in his hand,” said Ogilvie. “Matt has been successful in the 800m and the mile, as well as in cross country, and has tons of potential.”
Chris Theodore comes to Durham from Castle Pines, Colo., and competed for Rock Canyon High School. Theodore finished out his prep career with the silver medal at the Colorado 5A cross country state meet and he finished in fifth place in the 3,200m at the Colorado state track and field championships. Theodore has personal-best times of 4:23.56 in the 1,600m and 9:32.17 in the 3,200m, both of which came at high altitudes.
“The third member of Duke’s outstanding haul from the state of Colorado,” Ogilvie said. “Chris was the Colorado state runner-up in cross country, beating Carter Dillon in that race. A true distance runner, I see Chris as being a top ACC 5,000m and 10,000m runner in the coming years.”