PHILADELPHIA, PA. – On a night where the Duke track and field team had three relay squads run top-five fastest times in school history, the last of those was the most impressive as the Blue Devils smashed the sprint medley relay record on Friday night at the Penn Relays.
Duke’s sprint medley relay record was the oldest Duke record still standing, having been set in 1971 by a foursome that included Jon Krassny, Mike Murphy, Bob Wheeler and current assistant sports performance coach Jeff Howser. That changed on Friday as the quartet of Jacob Sobota, Miles Mingo, Steven Solomon and Matt Wisner beat the previous record of 3:22.10 by nearly six seconds. Duke’s squad crossed the finish line in 3:16.52 to finish in fourth place in the Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America Invitational. It was the highest finish in a Championship of America race for the Duke men since winning the 4xmile race in 1972.
The Blue Devils especially kicked it into gear on the final two legs, as Solomon covered the 400m and Wisner the 800m. Solomon blazed to an official split of 44.8 and Wisner followed him with an 800m split of 1:48.4.
“It was a very successful day with two men’s relays,” said director of track and field Norm Ogilvie. “One finishes No. 3 all-time at Duke and one smashes a 47-year old school record. Steven has had a fantastic year running multiple 45-second 400m’s and this was his first time under that this season. Matt Wisner backs up his performance from last week and is now entering a new level of consistency. Those two individuals have a very good chance of making the NCAA Championships.”
Duke also placed fourth in the women’s Sprint Medley Relay Championship of America Invitational, finishing with a time of 3:48.85. The quartet of India Lowe, Maddy Price, MacKenzie Kerr and Brittany Aveni were racing together for the second consecutive day after qualifying for the finals of the 4x400m relay and are now third all-time at Duke in the sprint medley relay.
Like the men, the Blue Devil women had a strong finish. Kerr gave Duke the lead during her 400m leg, the third leg of the race, with a split of 54.2. Aveni covered the final 800m in 2:07.33, just .33 seconds off her season-best.
“That team that ran so well yesterday looked very solid again today,” Ogilvie said. “MacKenzie Kerr got the lead after the 400m leg with her 54.2. Brittany ran one her fastest 800m of the season. It was a very respectable effort. They have a good chance of going for the win in the 4x400m relay tomorrow.”
Early in the day, Duke’s 4x200m relay also had a top-five team in school history, racing to a time of 1:26.43. That squad consisted of Tionne Barmer, Mingo, Solomon and Sobota. The Blue Devils finished in 11th overall, just missing out on Saturday’s finals.
Duke will have one more day of the Penn Relays. Michael Marsack will compete in the men’s javelin throw while the men’s 4xmile and the women’s 4x400m will run in finals. NBC Sports Network will broadcast live from 12:30 p.m., until 3:00 p.m. Duke will also have members of its squad competing at the Virginia Grand Prix tomorrow.