DURHAM, N.C. – Two weeks after posting their best combined finish ever at the IC4A and ECAC Championships and enjoying their first weekend off since mid-March, the Duke track & field squads look ahead to the 2009 NCAA East Regionals this weekend, March 29-30, in Greensboro, N.C., at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T University.
The Blue Devils have qualified a total of 12 student-athletes in 11 events for the highly competitive Regional (including two individuals who have qualified in two events) with berths to the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., June 10-13 on the line. Performers who place in the top five in their event earn automatic bids, while the 6th-12th place finishers will be pooled for an at-large bid to be announced on Monday.
On Friday, the first day of competition, Duke will see action in the field events from John Austin in the javelin (11 a.m.), Amy Fryt in the pole vault (3 p.m.), and Jade Ellis in the long jump (5 p.m.)
Austin, the Duke record holder in the event, has logged three NCAA Regional marks in the javelin this outdoor season, his best a throw of 219-9 which came at the ACC Championships April 16 and placed him third. The redshirt sophomore has surpassed 200 feet on three occasions this season.
Fryt, the 2009 ACC champion and an All-East performer in the pole vault, won the first four meets she entered this outdoor season. The sophomore has cleared 12 feet six times this season and cleared 13 feet for the first time in her career on April 18 at ACCs. She stands as the No. 2 all-time performer at Duke behind only Olympian Jillian Schwartz.
Ellis broke the Duke record in both the long jump and triple jump this season, and won the ACC title in the former in 2009 while taking second in the latter. He is now the only Blue Devil to leap over 25 feet in the long jump both indoors and outdoors, and has notched the regional mark four times this season in the long jump and twice in the triple.
Friday’s track events include the IC4A and ECAC champions in the 1500m in Cory Nanni and Molly Lehman. Both will run in Friday’s preliminaries with the hopes of advancing to Saturday’s finals. Lehman is set to step to the line at 4:30 p.m., while Nanni races at 4:55 p.m. The women’s 800m prelims, slated for 7:20 p.m., will see a strong Duke contingent in the trio of sophomore Devotia Moore and rookies Leslie Morrison and Esther Vermeer. Lehman also qualified for the 800 but will focus on the 1500 this weekend. Rounding out the Friday running events will be sophomore distance standout Christy Adamyk in the finals of the 5,000m to close out the evening at 9:20 p.m.
Nanni captured the 1500m title at the IC4A meet May 17, and added the accolade to his ledger after also winning the mile race at the indoor IC4As. He is now just the third athlete in Duke history to win multiple titles there. His 3:43.81 run at the UNC Elite meet brought him into the fifth place all-time in the Blue Devil record book. He has run the regional qualifier four times this spring.
Lehman won the ECAC title this spring and has notched the Regional qualifying mark five times in 2009. Her time of 4:17.84 ran at the UNC Elite is good for second all-time at Duke.
The trio of Moore, Morrison, and Vermeer all qualified in the 800m at the UNC Elite meet, which was the first mark of the season for each of them.
Adamyk is coming off her ECAC title in the 10K on May 15, where she improved her time by 10 seconds and won the race by 30. Her 5K time of 16:37.00 clocked at the Penn Relays was good for the regional mark, her first of the season.
Competition resumes Saturday in the field at 5 p.m. with Mike Schallmo taking to the discus. Ellis will then come back from his try in the long jump to compete in the triple jump at 5 p.m. as well.
Schallmo logged a pair of qualifiers in the discus this season, and his throw of 173-3 broke the Duke record in the event at the ACC Championships where he placed fifth. Schallmo’s also eclipsed 170 feet and qualified for regionals at the Raleigh Relays back on March 27, where he placed third and threw 170-2.
Saturday’s running events will feature those athletes who advance to the finals in the 800m and 1500m, and will showcase the finals of the men’s and women’s steeple. Senior Patricia Loughlin will go in the women’s at 7:15 p.m., followed by sophomore Ryan McDermott for the men at 7:40 p.m.
Loughlin notched the qualifying mark twice in 2009, most recently with a second-place finish of 10:09.77 at the ECAC meet. That was a 14-second lifetime best and good for second all-time in school history, while it also qualified her for the USATF Senior Nationals in June.
McDermott improved his personal best in the steeple by four seconds at IC4As, where he took fifth in 8:52.36, also good for second in Duke history. That was the third regional mark this season for McDermott.
The 2009 outdoor track & field season will continue past this weekend for those athletes that qualify for nationals. The 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships are set for June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark..