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XC: Duke Women Wins Southeast Regional

Posted November 9, 2012

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— Four Blue Devil runners finished inside the top 25 to lead the 10th-ranked women’s cross country team to the NCAA Southeast Region title Friday at McAlpine Creek Park. With the first-place finish – the program’s first at the regional meet since the 2009 season and third Southeast Region championship overall – the team automatically qualifies for next week’s NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky. The Duke men placed fifth in the regional championship in the team's first 10K event of the season.

“We knew we could be in a position to contend for the regional title, so I was definitely pleased to see that materialize for the girls,” said women’s head coach Kevin Jermyn. “We had a really, really strong top four today. I feel like we’ve made some progress from where we were at ACCs … Any time you win a large region like this, you have to be pleased with the effort.”

Senior Juliet Bottorff paced the Blue Devils, crossing the line at 20:14.48 in the women’s 6K race to come in second overall. The second-place showing marked Bottorff’s highest career finish at the regional meet while also garnering her All-Southeast Region accolades for the third time in her cross country career.

In only the fourth race of her collegiate cross country career, sophomore Kelsey Lakowske continued what has been a standout season, taking ninth place at 20:43.85 to join Bottorff in receiving all-region honors. Also earning a spot on the all-region team were sophomore Carolyn Baskir, who placed 12th in a personal-best time of 20:52.21, and graduate student Suejin Ahn, who came in 19th at 21:04.51. Ahn picked up All-Southeast Region accolades for the second consecutive season after finishing 24th at last year’s regional meet. Senior Madeline Morgan rounded out the scoring for Duke, taking 39th in 21:34.40, while junior Gabby Levac finished 55th (21:53.75) and senior Ashley Brasovan 73rd (22:07.11).

The Blue Devils totaled a team score of 81 to win the Southeast Region title, while 19th-ranked William & Mary took second with 123 points to grab the other automatic qualifying spot. Thirtieth-ranked NC State came in third (147), followed by Kentucky (173) and North Carolina (195). Cally Macumber of Kentucky was the top individual finisher on the 6K course, recording a time of 20:10.98 to lead the field.

The women improve to 116-15 on the season and 23-1 against ACC competition after collecting wins over NC State, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest at Friday’s race.

“The big goal of the season is to do well next week, but part of the process was to have a great outing here,” Jermyn said. “I’m excited not just to be [going to the NCAA Championships], but to do well, and I think we’re in a position to do that.”

The Duke men placed fifth out of 34 teams in the Southeast Region with a team score of 201. Senior Mike Moverman paced the squad, clocking 30:50.63 to come in 27th place. Classmate Dominick Robinson passed a runner from George Mason at the finish to take 32nd overall and help the Blue Devils edge George Mason by one point in the final team standings. Robinson posted a time of 31:00.44 for a new personal-best at the 10K distance, and moved up nearly 30 spots from a 60th-place performance at the same meet a year ago.

Also finishing inside the top 50 were sophomore Shaun Thompson, who placed 39th at 31:07.87, and junior Christian Britto, who notched a time of 31:18.10 to finish 50th. Junior Brian Atkinson came in 53rd (31:23.23), while junior Lucas Talavan-Becker took 63rd (31:38.66) and graduate student James Kostelnik came in 118th (32:39.08) to round out the Duke contingent. Thompson, Britto and Talavan-Becker all competed in the first 10K races of their careers, while Kostelnik returned to the regional championship after missing last season due to injury.

Twenty-first ranked Virginia claimed the men’s regional title with a team score of 64, while No. 15 Eastern Kentucky finished second with 75 points and NC State scored 102 points to come in third. No. 17 Virginia Tech took third two weeks after winning the ACC Championships on their home course in Blacksburg, Va. Individually, Soufiane Bouchikhi of Eastern Kentucky led the field with a time of 29:32.37.

The Blue Devil men now own a season ledger of 85-16 and a 12-9 mark against conference opponents. The squad will await the announcement of the 13 at-large bids to the NCAA Championships, which will be announced Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m.

“This is an incomplete story right now because we don’t know how it’s going to end,” said men’s head coach Norm Ogilvie. “We didn’t give up [today] – we fought all the way, … but I think we could have run better today.”

The 2012 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships are slated for Saturday, Nov. 17 at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky.

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