The second and final day of the Duke Invitational Saturday featured a number of stellar performances from the Duke track & field program, sparked by senior Megan Clark setting the ACC record in the women’s pole vault.
Clark, competing in the final home meet of her Duke career, etched her name among the NCAA’s all-time greats Saturday, clearing 15-2.25 (4.63m) to win the women’s pole vault invitational. In addition to breaking the Duke, ACC and facility records, the performance ranks as the top collegiate mark this season and the third-best height in NCAA outdoor history, trailing only Sandi Morris (4.72m) and Demi Payne (4.71m), both of whom Clark will expect to see at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July.
“We’ve been working really hard this season and I’m glad to be able to have PR’ed outdoors,” Clark said. “I struggle a little more outside with the wind and figuring out which poles to be on. I feel like we’ve made a lot of changes and I’m in a really good place.”
Clark ended the competition with three attempts at 15-5.75 (4.72m), which would have tied Morris’ NCAA outdoor record.
“That’s the first time I’ve jumped at a national record,” Clark said. “I’m really excited I had the opportunity to attempt it. I look forward to being able to put in more work and hopefully jump higher than that next time.”
Competing alongside Clark, sophomore Madison Heath placed second with a height of 13-10.50 (4.23m), while freshman Nati Sheppard took sixth after vaulting 12-4.75 (3.78m). Sophomore Jordan Hatfield led Duke on the men’s side, placing second in the unseeded competition with a collegiate-best height of 15-3.50 (4.66m).
Duke picked up another early win in the women’s high jump as senior Maddie Morrow used a collegiate-best leap of 5-9.75 (1.77m), moving her up to third in the Duke records book, to finish first. The Blue Devils would end the day with three event victories in the field events, capped by rookie Domonique Panton measuring 39-11.50 (12.18m) in the women’s triple jump.
The home team added a number of top-five finishes elsewhere in the field events. A pair of Duke rookies took second in the men’s and women’s javelin, as Nicholas Solfanelli finished runner-up in the men’s event with a throw of 192-7 (58.69m) and Jaida Lemmons launched the implement a personal-best 109-8 (33.43m) to place second in the women’s competition. Both were joined in the top five by a teammate as sophomore Travis Closs and redshirt senior Teddi Maslowski each placed fifth.
In the women’s shot put, redshirt junior Urina Harrell tied for the top mark among the field with a throw of 48-8 (14.83m), but placed second due to a tiebreaker. Junior Amarie Bremel rounded out the highlights for the Duke throwers by placing fourth in the women’s discus with a personal-best toss of 159-6 (48.61m), the third-best distance in program history.
Senior Carl Heinz registered a top-five performance of his own, capturing fifth in the men’s high jump with a season-best clearance of 6-9.50 (2.07m) to pace the Blue Devils.
On the track, the Blue Devils added two wins to bring Duke’s total to five first-place finishes Saturday. Starting out the running events, the women’s 4×100 team of freshman India Lowe, Maslowski, junior Madeline Kopp and sophomore Maddy Price cruised to the finish line in a winning time of 45.26, the second-fastest time in Duke history.
The Blue Devils dominated both 1,500-meter races, placing four in the top eight of the men’s event and five in the top 10 on the women’s side. For the men, junior Alec Kunzweiler snagged the victory with a time of 3:46.23, followed by sophomore Jordan Burton in fifth at 3:49.55, sophomore Josiah Hanko in seventh at 3:51.11 and junior Stephen Shine in eighth at 3:51.56. The performances for Kunzweiler, Burton and Hanko were all career bests, while Shine’s was a season best.
In the women’s race, senior Madison Granger, freshman Liz Lansing and senior Olivia Anderson placed second, third and fourth, respectively, posting times of 4:23.54, 4:27.69 and 4:30.12. Rookie Sheridan Wilbur followed close behind, taking sixth with a 4:37.35 showing, while senior Allison Sturges finished ninth at 4:41.78.
Duke added another strong showing in the women’s 200, led by Price finishing third in a time of 24.09. Kopp and Maslowski were right on her heels, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 24.32 and 24.42, while Lowe came in seventh after stopping the clock at 24.46.
Senior Daniel Moore led a Blue Devil contingent in the men’s 5,000, taking third with a personal-best time of 14:20.86, dipping under the previous meet record of 14:26.33. Classmate William Hague also turned in a career best in the race, taking sixth with a time of 14:29.09, while fellow senior William Rooney finished seventh at 14:32.86. In the women’s 5,000, senior Colleen Schmidt, Duke’s lone representative, placed fifth in a time of 17:11.67, another personal best for the Blue Devils.
Running the first 3,000-meter steeplechase of her career, junior Gina Daniel placed sixth overall with a time 11:13.71.
In the lone relay races of the day, the Duke men’s squad of senior Matthew Rodio, junior Michael Wilson, senior Christian Vail and redshirt junior Michal Filipczak took second overall with a time of 3:15.38, highlighted by Filipczak’s 47.35 split on the anchor leg. For the women, the team of freshman Kim Hallowes, Lansing, Granger and senior Anima Banks, all distance specialists, finished fifth with a time of 3:55.86, led by Banks’ 55.88 split.
The Blue Devils will close out the regular season next weekend at the Penn Relays, hosted April 28-30 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa.