Blue Devils send women’s 4x400 relay to NCAA Championship

From News ReleasesJune 1, 2014 

— 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 juniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski and freshman Madeline Kopp placed third in their heat Saturday at the NCAA East preliminary round 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-meter 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.”

Hansson, Kerpon, Maslowski and Kopp set a school record with a time of 3:33.09.

The last event of the meet opened with Hansson leading off the relay. She positioned Duke 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 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.

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,’” associate head coach Shawn 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.”

East Carolina: The East Carolina track and field team turned in several strong performances at the NCAA East regional as a program-best 10 Pirates qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. ECU will be represented in six events at the championships, which begin June 11.

“It’s hard to put into words how excited we are as a coaching staff on what we have accomplished this weekend,” head coach Curt Kraft said. “We have 10 individuals in six different events that are moving on to Eugene, Ore., in two weeks. This is the highest number of individuals, as well as events, that we have ever moved on to the National Championships in school history.”

Three of the 10 student athletes qualified in two events. Sophomore Cameron Hudson will represent the Pirates in both the men’s long jump and 4x100-meter relay, while seniors Tania Minkins and Tyshonda Hawkins will compete in the women’s 200-meter dash as well as the 4x100-meter relay.

Sophomore jumper Avion Jones punched his ticket to Eugene with a mark of 2.17 meters in the men’s high jump. Jones is the current school record holder in the event with a distance of 2.21 meters.

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