Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seven Duke athletes qualify for NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

The spring of 2014 has been a season where the record books have been re-written over and over, regardless of sport. This time, it’s track and field. For the first time in Duke program history, the track and field team will have a women’s 4×400 meter relay in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Juniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski and freshman Madeline Kopp finished third in the NCAA East Preliminary Round this past week in Jacksonville, Fla. The team met the automatic qualifying standard with their place.

The relay team isn’t headed to Oregon alone. Graduate student Juliet Bottorff qualified for nationals in two events. She qualified in the 5,000 meter run and the 10,000 meter run. Sophomore Thomas Lang qualified in the javelin throw. Senior Brian Atkinson qualified in the 10,000 meter run. Kerpon qualified for nationals in the 200 meter dash as well.

“[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 [on Sunday]. Things just weren’t going out way. In the final couple events of [Sunday] evening, Juliet set us up with a fantastic 5,000. Then, the 4×4, runs a school record and every leg was fantastic. It was just an amazing run, with each leg contributing.”

The 4×400 meter relay improved their time from earlier in the season, which was the previous school record, by over three seconds.

“We’ve gotten closer and closer [to qualifying for nationals] every year,” said Associate Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn. “This is the second time this year we broke it. It’s not just one season, it’s the last couple of seasons building on this. That’s the evolution of the Duke sprint program.”

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