DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke track and field team kicks off its indoor campaign at the Carolina Cup this Saturday. Today we will look at the returning throwers who set two school records during the 2017 season.
Sophomore Katelyn Gochenour had one of the best debut seasons in Duke history. She shattered the school record in the javelin throw when she reached 178-0 (54.26) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She finished sixth in the competition and was named a First-Team All-American. She closed out the year by finishing in second place at the USATF Junior Championships. Overall, Gochenour finished in the top-10 in all eight javelin competitions she entered, including a third-place finish in her ACC Outdoor Championships debut which helped her win the ACC Field Freshman of the Year.
Also breaking a school record was junior Stefani Vukajlovic. The Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina native reached 195-8 (59.63) in the hammer throw, which was both a Duke record as well as the Bosnia-Herzegovina record. Vukajlovic finished in fifth-place at the ACC Outdoor Championships and qualified for the NCAA East Regional. Vukajlovic also had a record throw during the indoor season. She threw a distance of 56-3.25 (17.15) in the indoor weight throw, which is the second furthest in Duke history and was a personal-best.
Junior Iyin Battle and sophomore Michael Marsack both made their marks on the Duke record book in 2017. Battle had the second furthest mark in Duke history in the indoor weight throw when he reached 55-4.25 (16.87) at the ACC Indoor Championships. Battle also had the fourth-best distance in the outdoor hammer throw when he reached 179-11 (54.84) to finish in fourth-place at the Virginia Grand Prix.
Marsack had the fourth-best javelin throw in school history when he reached 214-10 (65.48) to finish in second at the Raleigh Relays. Marsack took his first individual career victory at the Battle of the Blues and concluded his season with a sixth-place finish in his ACC Outdoor Championships debut.
Junior Nicholas Solfanelli earned his first career ACC title when he threw a season-best 212-11 (64.89) in the javelin throw at the ACC Outdoor Championships. That was one of five top-five finishes for Solfanelli throughout the outdoor campaign. He closed out the season by competing at the NCAA East Regional.
Rounding out the javelin throwers are senior Travis Closs and sophomore Kiegan Lenihan. Closs finished ninth at the ACC Outdoor Championships, one of three top-10 finishes for the Holmdel, N.J., product. Lenihan finished in the top-10 all four times he competed, including a fifth-place finish at the ACC Championships.
Maher had a season-best throw of 50-8.75 (15.51) in the indoor shot put at the ACC Indoor Championships, a distance that led the Blue Devils. Maher also added a first-place finish in the same event at the VT Challenge.
Beatty tossed the shot put 53-11.00 (16.43) at the Battle of the Blues, the furthest Blue Devil toss during the outdoor season. He had four top-10 finishes outdoors, culminating in a ninth place finish at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
The Blue Devils begin their season Saturday, Jan. 13, 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 the action here.