Sophomore pole vaulter Megan Clarkcarried over the success of her indoor season to the outdoors Saturday, posting the highest clearance in the nation with a school-record mark of 14-7.25 (4.45) at the Carolina Relays in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Blue Devils also posted impressive efforts in the javelin, winning both the men’s and women’s event.
The Blue Devils found themselves competing under gorgeous conditions over the two-day meet, with the weather near-perfect for the season-opening weekend.
“I think the kids got a little more up with the weather being nice,” Duke Associate Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn said. “We’re just carrying over from the indoor season. It’s part of the process. When we start out in the fall, we gear our training to continue to get better throughout the season and to be at our best when we finish outdoor. It’s part of the process. I think the weather gave us a little bit of a bump.”
Clark, also the school record holder in the indoor pole vault, improved on her personal-best mark of 14-5.25 (4.40), earned at the ACC Indoor Championships. Clark opened the competition with two misses at 12-5.50 (3.80) before clearing the height on her third attempt. After clearances at 12-9.50 (3.90) and 13-5.25 (4.10), each on her first attempt, Clark missed once at 13-11.25 (4.25) before successfully clearing the height. Clark soared over both 14-3.25 (4.35) and 14-7.25 (4.45) on her first attempt en route to the school record.
“This week, we just cleaned some things up, got back to training, and [Megan] felt good today,” Wilbourn said. “It was an incredible performance, to open up the first outdoor meet and to jump that high. I was impressed. The wind can play havoc, especially with the crosswind and the headwind. Last year we worked with her practicing in the wind and understanding how to adjust her steps and paying attention to those elements. We talked about it earlier this week and the adjustments that need to be made. She’s becoming seasoned, so to say.”
Clark improved on former United States Olympian Jillian Schwartz’s school record of 14-2.00 (4.31), becoming just the second Duke pole vaulter to break the 14-foot barrier for the women’s program. Clark won the event by over half a meter.
Strong performances in the throwing events continued for Duke over the weekend as redshirt sophomore Thomas Lang, appearing in his first competition of 2014, won the javelin with a personal-best mark of 220-3.00 (67.13). The effort ranks Lang second on Duke’s all-time list, passing Jamie Rodriguez, whose mark has appeared among the top-five performances since 1995.
On Lang’s first attempt, the Royersford, Pa., native heaved the javelin out to a distance of 65.93, at the time, a personal best. Following marks over 64-meters on his third and fourth attempts, Lang unleashed his personal-best effort of 220-3.00 (67.13) on his penultimate attempt, winning the event by over 15 feet.
Not to be outdone, freshman Christine Streisel, competing in the first javelin competition of her collegiate career, posted a personal-best mark of 164-6.00 (50.15). The Tamaqua, Pa., native’s personal-best effort, which also ranks second on Duke’s all-time list, came on her second attempt of the competition.
On the track, junior Elizabeth Kerpon paced the Blue Devils in the 100, running a personal-best time of 12.09 to place third overall. Freshman Madeline Kopp, competing in her first collegiate 100, finished just behind Kerpon, clocking a time of 12.10 for fourth place. Junior Lauren Hansson improved on her personal-best 100-meter time by over a tenth of a second, finishing fifth in a time of 12.15.
In the men’s 100, senior Marcus Wright dipped under the 11-second mark for the first time in his career, clocking a time of 10.90 en route to a second-place finish.
Redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski, returning to competition after a record-setting performance one day earlier in the long jump, placed fourth in the 100m hurdles in a personal-best time of 14.07. Maslowski improved on her previous best by nearly four tenths of a second.
The women’s 4×100, comprised of juniors Callie Francis and Alexis Roper, as well as Hansson and Kopp, posted the second-fastest time in school history after crossing the line in 46.05. The Blue Devil relay placed second in the event.
The Blue Devils travel to Austin, Texas for the Texas Relays, beginning Wednesday, March 26.
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