DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke track and field team begins its indoor season this Saturday at the Carolina Cup. Today we take a look this year's experienced group of sprinters and hurdlers, which includes four All-Americans.
With five-time All-American Madeline Kopp having graduated and now serving as a volunteer assistant coach, the three other members of the 4x400 meter relay team that earned second-team All-American honors in 2017 will carry the torch as the top sprinters in 2018. Senior Maddy Price and juniors MacKenzie Kerr and India Lowe all return along with junior Sydnei Murphy who helped Duke finish fifth in the same event at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
Price enters her senior season having already racked up four All-American awards as well as holding the school record in seven different events, including the outdoor 100 and 200 meters. Last year, she set personal-best times in the indoor 300 meters (38.81) and indoor 400 meters (53.85) as well as having the season-best for the Duke squad in the outdoor 100 meters (11.69) in 2017.
Last year’s All-American honors were the first for Kerr and Lowe. Kerr moved into the top five in school history in the outdoor 400 meter when she clocked a time of 54.07, while Lowe ran the second-fastest 300 meters in school history in 38.53, as well as the fourth-fastest indoor 60 meters as she finished with a time of 7.66.
Murphy, in addition to her records in the jumping events, also set new school records in the indoor 60 meters when she ran the distance in 7.49and as a member of the 4x100 relay outdoors. She also moved into the top three in Duke history in the outdoor 100 meters (11.70) and the indoor 200 meters (24.37).
Also returning are senior Jasmine Hill and junior Domonique Panton. Panton set new personal-bests in the indoor 60 meters (7.72) and the outdoor 100 meters (11.89), as well as running the third leg in the 4x100 meter relay team that set a new school record.
Duke adds a pair of freshmen to the deep group of sprinters. Kethlin Campbell was named the 2017 National High School Coaches Association Girls’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The Shelbyville, Tenn, native was also the USATF Youth National Champion and All-American in the 100 and 200 meters. She broke multiple state records and finished her impressive campaign with marks of 11.52 in the 100 and 23.68 in the 200. Rounding out the newcomers is Simi Gbadegesin. Gbadegesin, a local product from Durham, N.C., arrives after finishing as the 2017 2A Outdoor State Runner-up in the 400 meter.
Jaida Lemmons ran the 60 meter indoor hurdles and the 100 meter outdoor hurdles for the Blue Devils in 2017. She had a season-best 8.94 in the 60m hurdles at the VT Challenge and ran a time of 14.42 in the 100m hurdles at the ACC Outdoor Championships while competing in the heptathlon.
Duke adds accomplished freshman Lauren Hoffman who hails from Haymarket, Va. Hoffman was a 2017 New Balance Nationals All-American after finishing in fourth-place in the 400 meter hurdles. Hoffman ended her season with an impressive 59.05, the fifth best performance in the country in the intermediate hurdles and will compete in both hurdles as well as add to an already talented relay squad.
On the men’s side, the Blue Devils will need to replace Brett Bofinger and Chaz Hawkins, both of whom graduated. Incoming graduate transfer Steven Solomon will be called upon to step into the gap. Solomon comes to Duke after he finished his undergraduate career at Stanford and is one of the most accomplished athletes to don the Duke singlet. Solomon reached the 400 meter finals of the 2012 Summer Olympics while representing his home country of Australia and also competed in the World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2017. He has extensive experience in the NCAA as well, finishing as a two-time All-American at Stanford and helping to win a national championship at the 2014 Indoor National Championships as a member of the distance medley relay.
Also joining the team will be freshman Miles Mingo. Mingo, a product of Rock Hill, S.C., ran both the 200 meter and 400 meters during his prep career, including helping to win the 2017 SCHSL 5A State Championship in the 4x400 meter relay.
Returning for his senior season is Tionne Barmer. Barmer qualified for the ACC Indoor Championships in both the 60 meters and 200 meters during 2017 and he set a personal best in the 60 meters by finishing in 7.05. During the outdoor season, the Baltimore, Md., product ran the lead leg of the sprint medley relay, helping Duke finish in 3:23.00 which is the third-fastest time in school history. He also set personal-bests in the 100 meters (10.73) and 200 meters (22.22).
JR Smith is also returning for his senior season and will compete in the short sprints and relays in addition to his primary jumping events.
Junior Austin Nobis did not compete during 2017, but looks to rebound and add depth to the group in the long sprints and relays.
Graduate student Chase Peterson had the top Duke time in the 400 meter hurdles in 2017. He finished the race in 53.64 at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
Sophomore Chris Jackson II will compete in the hurdles for the first time at the collegiate level this season. The Detroit, Mich., native was a two-time Regional Champion in the 100 meter hurdles during his prep career and left Detroit Country Day School as the school record-holder in the 60 meter hurdles.
The Blue Devils begin their season this Saturday when they travel down the road to Chapel Hill for the Carolina Cup. The meet gets underway at noon in Eddie Smith Field House on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Follow along with the action here.