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T&F: Duke qualifies three individuals and a relay team for NCAA Championships

Posted June 1

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— For the first time in school history, the Duke track and field team will send a women’s 4x400 meter relay to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships after the quartet of juniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski and freshman Madeline Kopp placed third in their heat at the NCAA East Preliminary Round Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. The third-place finish served as an automatic qualifying standard, advancing the relay to the national championship in Eugene, Ore. Graduate student Juliet Bottorff also qualified for the 5,000 of the NCAA meet, two days after reaching the NCAA Championship in the 10,000.

“[Sending three individuals and a relay to nationals] shows you we’re resilient,” said Director of Track & Field Norm Ogilvie. “We had a really good day on Thursday, qualifying three individuals for nationals and a number of people ran really well to qualify for the next day. I felt like we were on top of the world. We had a pretty rough day on Friday and a rough start today. Things just weren’t going our way. In the final couple events of the evening, Juliet set us up with a fantastic 5,000. Then, the 4x4, runs a school record and every leg was fantastic. It was just an amazing run, with each leg contributing.”

Hansson, Kerpon, Maslowski and Kopp put an exclamation point on the weekend’s competition with a school record time of 3:33.09, placing the relay third in the first heat of the women’s 4x400. The time improved on the previous school best, run earlier this season, by over three seconds.

“First of all, Coach [Matt] LoPiccolo has done a great job as far as keeping the [relay team] fresh and following the training plan throughout the year,” Associate Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn said. “From the very beginning of the year, we’ve been pointing toward this spot. We want to get the 4x400 to Eugene. With that in mind, the training plan was executed to a T.”

The last event of the meet opened with Hansson leading off the relay by positioning Duke in third over the first 400 meters before passing the baton to Kopp, Duke’s school record holder in the open 400. Kopp held the position and handed the baton to Maslowski, who carried the baton in a split of 53.45. Kerpon received the baton from Maslowski and subsequently anchored the relay with a 53.47 split, crossing the line three-hundredths of a second in front of Clemson’s anchor to punch the relay’s ticket to the national championship.

“I really preach to them how the process gets us to where we want to go,” said Assistant Coach Matt LoPiccolo. “I told [Elizabeth Kerpon] that earlier tonight before the 200. Everything worked out great [tonight].”

For Wilbourn and LoPiccolo, the progress for the women’s 4x400 is evident. Last season the relay fell just short of qualifying for the national meet in the same event.

“We walked away that night [last year] and I told those girls, ‘Next year. We’ve gotten closer every year. Next year, we’re going to NCAAs,’” Wilbourn said. “The progression over the past few years, we’ve been getting better, breaking the school record each year. This is the second time this year we broke it. It’s not just one season, it’s the last couple of season’s building on this. That’s the evolution of the Duke sprint program.”

Bottorff set the tone for the Duke relay in the previous race, the women’s 5,000. After already qualifying for the national championship in the 10,000 two days earlier, Bottorff advanced to the same meet in the 5,000 with a second-place finish in her heat and a third-place finish overall, clocking a time of 15:58.78. Bottorff’s time, a personal-best for the Newark, Del., native, also ranks second on Duke’s all-time list.

“The goal [in both the 10,000 and the 5,000] was to do whatever it took to qualify,” Associate Head Coach Kevin Jermyn said. “Going in, we were hoping that [Juliet] wouldn’t have to run all out in the 10k. She went into the 5k with a little extra, but we were more prepared for the 5k to be the hardest 5k she ran all year because she was tired and the competition was good. She looked better than she looked all year, I thought, in the 5k today.”

Bottorff demonstrated her experience in competing against stout competition, positioning herself toward the front of the pack early and exhibiting her awareness of the place needed to advance to Eugene. After consistently running between 77 and 78 seconds per lap for the first 3,800 meters, Bottorff and Dartmouth’s Abby D’Agostino broke from the field, dropping the pace to approximately 75 seconds per lap over the next two laps before Bottorff closed in 69.5 seconds over the final 400 meters en route to her second-place finish.

“[Juliet] was confident going in, but she is more confident coming out,” Jermyn said. “That being said, she knows there’s going to be real good competition at NCAAs. She’s excited to know that she can be in contention to be someone who can possibly go for the title in the 10k.”

Bottorff is scheduled to compete in the fourth NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship of her collegiate career in two weeks.

Bottorff and the 4x400 meter relay team are joined by redshirt sophomore Thomas Lang (javelin) and senior Brian Atkinson (10,000), both of whom also placed top 12 in their respective events to secure a spot in the NCAA Championship.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
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7:30pm Tonight
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7:30pm Tonight
MIA
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8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
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COOK
 
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SCAR
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GWEBB
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ODU
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KSU
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UTEP
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CHAM
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Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
 
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OTT
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13