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XC: Duke Women Finish Seventh, Men 30th at NCAAs

Posted November 17, 2012

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— Sophomore Kelsey Lakowske earned All-America honors as the Duke men’s and women’s cross country teams wrapped up the 2012 campaign Saturday at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of Louisville at E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park.

The Blue Devil women, ranked 10th nationally heading into the weekend, came away with a seventh-place showing for the program’s best performance at the championship meet since taking third in 2005. The men’s squad placed 30th overall out of 31 teams to move up one spot from its initial seeding.

The Duke women tallied 300 points on the afternoon, while Oregon took home the team title with 114 points, 69 points ahead of second-place finisher Providence (183). Stanford (198), Florida State (202), Michigan (247), Arizona (263), Duke, Connecticut (304), Washington (334) and New Mexico (341) rounded out the top 10 schools. Betsy Saina of Iowa State crossed the line at 19:27.9 to capture the individual crown.

“We’ve really been focusing all year on trying to be the best team we could be and we certainly rose to the challenge,” said women’s head coach Kevin Jermyn. “This was a big thrill and a big confidence boost, especially since we had some young, first-timers in this group.”

Lakowske led the way for Duke, recording a personal-best time of 20:03.4 over 6K to take 20th place out of 253 finishers. The All-America accolades capped what has been a breakout season for the Boulder, Colo., native, who also collected All-Southeast Region and All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition this season. Joining Lakowske on the All-America team was senior Juliet Bottorff, who crossed the line 27th with a time of 20:06.1. Also an All-ACC and All-Southeast Region performer this season, Bottorff garnered the first All-America honors of her career, moving up an impressive 33 spots from her last appearance at the national meet in 2010.

“Kelsey had her best race of the season,” Jermyn said. “She really stepped her up performance and that was impressive for her first national meet. Juliet had a solid day and ran composed throughout the entire race. They provided a really strong one-two punch that helped us achieve great team results.”

Sophomore Carolyn Baskir clocked a 6K personal best of 20:38.9 to finish 81st in her first NCAA Championships appearance, followed by graduate student Suejin Ahn in 111th place at 20:52.3 and senior Madeline Morgan, who took 160th at 21:10.6 in her third NCAA Championships appearance in four years. Senior Ashley Brasovan was Duke’s sixth finisher in 206th (21:33.5) and junior Gabby Levac the seventh in 226th place (21:46.4).

“It was great to be able to have such good results and end the year on a positive note,” Jermyn said. “From start to end it was a fun ride.”

Junior Brian Atkinson paced the Blue Devil men with a 129th-place performance, posting a personal-best time of 30:58.8 over 10K. Senior Mike Moverman – an All-ACC performer earlier this season – came in 179th at 31:25.8, and graduate student James Kostelnik crossed the line at 31:28.2 to take 183rd and drop over a minute from his performance at last weekend’s NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. Sophomore Shaun Thompson placed 191st with a time of 31:33.0 in his first national meet showing and junior Lucas Talavan-Becker grabbed Duke’s fifth spot at 31:50.2, finishing 208th overall.

Junior Christian Britto finished 217th at 32:03.2 and senior Dominick Robinson battled through illness to come in 230th at 32:24.8.
As a team, Duke totaled 725 points in a 30th-place performance. Oklahoma State won the national team title with a score of 72 points, while Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech cruised to the individual championship with a time of 28:31.3.

“This team achieved a lot of great things to get here,” said men’s head coach Norm Ogilvie. “We really fought hard all year long. Each of our top seven guys made significant contributions to the team. Of the eight guys that made the trip, six of them are back next year so we’re optimistic about the future.”

The Blue Devil women round out the 2012 season with a final record of 140-21 while the men conclude the fall campaign with an 86-45 ledger.

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