Perfectionist heptathlete Xenia Rahn has 'tough' day
Only moments earlier, North Carolina’s Xenia Rahn completed her first day of heptathlon competition at the ACC Track Championships with a ninth-place finish in the 200.
The result left Rahn in second place, with 3,267 points with the final three events to be completed today at UNC’s Fetzer Field and Irwin Belk Track.
Ever the competitor, Rahn described her performance as “kind of a sucky day.”
“I wanted to score higher than that,” Rahn said. “The 200 (meters) was pretty disappointing.”
That was Rahn the competitor speaking.
Josh Langley, UNC’s multi-events coach, offered the realistic fact that Rahn set a new personal record for most points in the first day of a heptathlon.
“She’s a perfectionist,” Langley said. “For her to be disappointed. I’m not a surprised. I’m not shocked.”
Florida State’s Grete Sadeiko, with 3,446 points, is the lone competitor in front of Rahn with the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run still to be decided today.
A junior from Hamburg, Germany who started her college career at Memphis, Rahn is accustomed to strong performances at the conference level.
At Memphis, Rahn qualified for the NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets while earning honorable mention all-America honors. She won the Conference USA heptathlon championship as a freshman in 2012 and was runner-up last spring.
Her best NCAA Championship finish in the seven-event heptathlon was 18th. Competing for the ACC championship for the first time, and doing so on her home track, has Rahn expecting nothing but her best.
The 200 proved to be her biggest struggle of the first day, which led to the frustration in her comments.
“Her 200 has been something she’s been frustrated with for a few years now,” Langley said. “She hasn’t had that breakthrough like she has in other events. She’s waiting on that event to come around.”
Rahn started the day finishing second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.99. Duke’s Teddi Maslowski won the event in 13.91.
Next up was the high jump, where Rahn finished fourth at 5-7. Sadeiko, the overall leader, won the high jump at 5-9¼.
In the shot put, Rahn placed second as Sadeiko won her second event of the day. Rahn topped out at 39-7¼ while Sadeiko placed first at 41-2¼.
The final event of the first day was the 200 where Rahn came in a disappointing ninth in 26.36. Duke’s Maslowski claimed her second win of the first day with a time of 24.62.
“I started on a good pace (in the 200),” Rahn said. “But it’s just not there.”
Rahn had no problems complimenting Sadeiko on her outstanding day.
“It’s championships,” Rahn said. “High jump wasn’t good for anyone except for (Sadeiko). She killed it. She’s doing really well.”
Langley and Rahn both expect the overall heptathlon championship to come down to today’s final event, the 800.
“I’m going to have to make up some points,” Rahn said. “The problem is that it’s going to come down to the 800. So annoying because I hate running the 800. In order to make up points I’m going to have to run really fast. So we’ll see.”
Langley knows that Rahn doesn’t prefer for things to come down to the 800.
“She, like every other heptahlete, hates the 800,” Langley said. “They all hate the 800. But that’s all she’s thinking about now.”
But Langley is confident Rahn can still win.
“Xenia is going to have a good long jump,” Langley said. “Grete is a little ahead of her in the javelin. In the 800, Xenia has always been in the position where she really doesn’t have to run the 800 hard. It will be fun to see when she really has to lay it on the line what happens.”
By day’s end, Duke’s Karli Johnnot was third with 3,166 points, Wake Forest’s Alyssa Thompson foruth at 3,136, UNC’s Emily Godwin fifth at 3,130, Maslowski sixth at 3,116 and UNC’s Tori Kemp seventh with 3,076.
A LOOK AT UNC HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPENING DAY, COURTESY UNC ATHLETICS
The University of North Carolina concluded the first day of competition for the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The women’s team is in seventh place with eight points and men’s team is in twelfth place with one point.
“The first day of the conference championship was really exciting,” North Carolina head coach Harlis Meaders said. “The conference is extremely tough. It looks like, on the men’s side, Notre Dame, Florida State and us all have a chance of competing for a championship title and it may come down to whoever blinks first. It’s going to be that close. But I was really happy with the way the kids competed today.
“We were able to get eighth place in the men’s 10k, which is an incredibly difficult race. We were able to advance kids in the 400 hurdles, 200, 1,500, we still have three guys left in the decathlon and a lot of events to come. What we’re doing is positioning ourselves for the final day to really have a chance at capturing the title. What we’ve done so far is what we needed to do. We’ve had a couple of blips on the radar, but those blips have provided opportunities for other kids to step up. And that’s what we’re looking for. It’s going to be a complete team effort and I think we’re up for the challenge.
“On the women’s side, we’ve had a lot of positive things happen. The ladies in the multis have put themselves in good position. Tristine Johnson today in the long jump had a seasonal best performance and Avana Story finished fifth in the hammer. In the events we competed we did very well. Cori Floyd advanced in the 400 hurdles, both Lizzy and Karley advanced in the 1,500.
“It’s going to be a really tight race for the third position. Florida State has a really powerful team. Second, third and fourth are going to be really tight and hopefully we can go in the top three. I think we are doing everything that we can to put our teams in the best position, so I’m really excited about the first day.”
Tristine Johnson took fifth place in the women’s long jump at 19-9 ¾ (6.04 meters) setting a new personal record. Johnson’s jump gave the women’s team four points.
Avana Story finished fifth in the women’s hammer throw at 183-11 (56.07 meters). She earned four points towards the women’s team score.
Pat Schellberg scored the lone point for the men’s squad in the 10,000. Schellberg took eighth overall with a time of 29:39.99
The women’s heptathlon kicked off today with four events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash. Xenia Rahn ended the day in second place with 3,367 points. Emily Godwin finished the day in fifth with a total of 3,130 points. Tory Kemp is currently in seventh after the first day with 3,076 points.
North Carolina also has three athletes competing in the men’s decathlon: Joe Hutchinson, Paul Haley and Ryan Ramsey. The men’s decathlon has concluded five events: the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400. Ryan Ramsey leads the Tar Heels in third place with 3,752 points. Joe Hutchinson comes in at 3,655 and in fifth place. Right behind him is Paul Haley in sixth place with 3,605.
RJ Alowonle and Javonte Lipsey both automatically qualified for the finals of the 400-meter hurdles after winning their heats. Lipsey ran 51.05, his best time of the season and the best time in the field. Alowonle ran 51.67, which is second best. Roy Smith and Devon Carter both qualified for the finals at 52.45 and 53.21 respectively.
Lizzy Whelan ran the second-fastest time in the preliminary races for the women’s 1,500. She won her heat at 4:23.15. Karley Rempel finished sixth in 1,500 at 4:24.12, her best time of the season. Both will move on to the 1,500 finals.
Cori Floyd ran for a personal best in the 400 hurdles at 1:00.14. She qualified for finals with that time.
Ceo Ways took first place in his heat of the 200 at 20.75. Ways qualified for the finals with the second-best time in the field.
The ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships continue tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s javelin. A recap of performances and results will be available on Goheels.com at the conclusion of each day. Live results will be posted here <http://www.theacc.com/#!/page/championship_c-otrack_livestats> and the meet will be streamed <http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/1790663/acc-outdoor-track-field-championships> by ESPN starting at 4:30.
A LOOK AT DUKE HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPENING DAY, COURTESY DUKE ATHLETICS
Graduate student Juliet Bottorff added to her ACC Championship accolades Thursday evening, winning the 10,000 meter final in a time of 32:53.72, on day one of the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Duke women’s track and field team finished day one with 10 points, while the Duke men’s track and field team concluded the first day of competition with three points.
“It’s relieving,” Bottorff said. “It’s a lot of pressure. You haven’t won it until you’ve won. It feels really good to get it done and complete the triple-crown, winning my third ACC Championship. It just means a lot. I’m really excited about it.”
Bottorff, who did not compete during the outdoor season prior to Thursday’s 10,000, placed herself in the lead pack early in the race and maintained her position as the race unfolded. Florida State’s Hannah Walker led for a majority of the race, pacing Bottorff as the two consistently hit splits of 79 seconds per lap for a significant portion of the distance.
“The competition was really good,” Bottoff said. “It was never in the bag, which makes it sweeter, because I really had to work for it.”
As the lead pack dwindled in the later stages of the race, Bottorff and Walker found themselves holding a significant lead over the rest of the field with 800 meters remaining. A decisive move 600 meters from the finish allowed Bottorff to pull away from Walker en route to the first women’s 10,000m ACC title in Duke history.
“I was expecting the race to be a little slower,” Bottorff said. “If it had been slow, I was going to make a move a lot earlier, but since it was going pretty fast, I was waiting until only a lap or two to go, when I knew I could drop the hammer in the homestretch. More power to Hannah Walker. She ran a great race and really did a lot of the work.”
In the men’s 10,000, senior Brian Atkinson contributed two points to the men’s team score, placing seventh in the event with a time of 29:37.46. Although the field was bunched together early in the race, Andrew Colley of NC State took the lead at the 5,000m mark and increased the pace from 73-second laps to 68-second laps, causing the field to string out. Atkinson responded to the change in pace and fell into the lead pack of eight runners. As the pack continued to hit 68 seconds per lap, the number of runners in the front continued to diminish, creating a pack of four. Atkinson attempted to work back to the lead pack throughout the remainder of the race, putting in a valiant effort before crossing the line for a seventh-place finish.
Sophomore Michael Foley opened the scoring for Duke on the men’s side, placing eighth in the hammer throw with a distance of 179-6.00 (54.73) earlier in the day. Foley’s eighth-place effort came on his fourth attempt. The Paradise Valley, Ariz., native reached the finals after posting a distance of 178-7.00 (54.43) on his second attempt.
All four of Duke’s decathletes found themselves among the top-eight through day one of the men’s decathlon, with sophomore Robert Rohner leading the way with 3,930 points, redshirt senior Curtis Beach in second place with 3,784 points, junior Ian Rock in seventh place with 3,584 points and freshman Chaz Hawkins, competing in his first collegiate decathlon, in eighth place with 3,410 points.
Rohner started the day strong with a first-place finish in the 100, clocking a time of 10.73. Beach earned a third-place finish with a time of 11.02, while Hawkins placed fourth with a time of 11.11. Rock rounded out the Duke contingent in the first event with a personal-best time of 11.34.
In the second event of the day, the long jump, Beach asserted himself, getting out to 23-10.75 (7.28) to take first in the event. Rohner placed second with a personal-best jump of 22-5.25 (6.84), while Rock also saw a top-five performance, placing fourth with a mark of 22-3.50 (6.79).
Rohner saw his third top-three performance of the day come in the shot put, as the Sumter, S.C., native sent the shot 41-7.75 (12.69), placing him third. Rock (38-0.25 (11.59)) and Beach (36-4.75 (11.09)) also saw top-10 performances, placing sixth and ninth, respectively.
In the penultimate event of the day, the high jump, Rohner continued the theme of top-three finishes, clearing 6-2.25 (1.89) to place third. Rohner remained perfect on his first four attempts before his first miss of the day at 6-3.50 (1.92). Rohner was unable to clear the height on second and third attempts, but because of fewer misses, placed ahead of two other competitors who cleared the same height.
The four Blue Devil decathletes concluded day one of the competition with a strong showing in the 400. Only the four Duke competitors broke 50 seconds for the distance, with Rohner finishing first in a time of 48.62, Beach placing second in a time of 49.38, Hawkins crossing the line in third with a time of 49.60 and Rock covering the distance in a time of 49.77 to finish fourth.
In the women’s heptathlon redshirt sophomore Karli Johonnot headlines the Duke trio of multi-event competitors, sitting in third place with 3,166 points after day one. Joining Johonnot among the top-eight is fellow redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski, who is in sixth place with 3,116 points. Senior Miray Seward concluded day one in ninth place after amassing 2,933 points.
Maslowski opened strong, winning the first event of the day, the 100m hurdles, in a school record and personal-best time of 13.91. Johonnot and Seward opened their days with a ninth and 11th-place finish, respectively. Johonnot finished in a time of 14.80 and Seward crossed the line in a time of 14.89.
In the second event of the day, the high jump, Johonnot led the Blue Devil trio with a fifth-place finish, clearing 5-5.75 (1.67). Seward finished second for Duke and ninth overall with a height of 5-3.25 (1.61) and Maslowski posted a mark of 5-2.25 (1.58), placing her 11th.
In the first throwing event of the heptathlon, the shot put, Johonnot posted a third-place performance with a mark of 38-9.50 (11.82). The Las Vegas, Nev., native’s mark came on her first attempt of the event. Seward moved into fifth-place on her third and final attempt after sending the shot 38-1.50 (11.62).
In perfect symmetry, Maslowski finished day one of competition in the same way she started the day, with a victory. The Burgettstown, Pa., native took first-place in the 200m dash, covering the distance in a time of 24.62.
Junior Elizabeth Kerpon, Duke’s school record holder in the 200, qualified for the finals of the 200m dash after placing second in her heat and running the fifth-fastest time in the prelims with a time of 23.77. The 200 final is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Freshman Haley Meier looked like a veteran running Thursday in the preliminary round of the 1,500, winning her heat in a time of 4:24.54 after making a strong move with 300m remaining. Meier, who positioned herself in the front of the field early in the race, remained composed and responded to a change in pace at the bell. At the 300m mark, Meier stayed clear of trouble, increasing her pace and pulling away from the field to earn a spot in the final, set for Saturday at 4:20 p.m.
In the men’s 1,500 prelim, junior Nate McClafferty secured a spot in the finals after placing second in the first heat with a time of 3:46.66 to automatically qualify. McClafferty looked smooth throughout the race, including in the final 400 meters when the Wernersville, Pa., native closed in a time of 56.09.
Competition resumes Friday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s javelin. Live coverage of the day’s competition will be available on ESPN3 beginning at 4:30 p.m.