ACC TRACK: Duke decathlon star slips to 3rd; Rohner takes title

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 10:40 PM

On Friday’s second day of ACC Track and Field championships, Duke’s D stood for decathlon and dominance.

The Blue Devils swept the top three places in the 10-event, two-day competition, with sophomore Robert Rohner surprisingly claiming the conference championship.

It’s not that Rohner lacks confidence or skill, but topping teammate Curtis Beach qualified as a major accomplishment.

A two-time first-team all-American in the event who competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, Beach finished in third place due to a poor javelin performance. Duke’s Ian Rock finished second in the ACC decathlon.

“It was a great couple of days,” Duke multi-events coach Shawn Wilbourn said. “I thought we could go 1-2-3. The way they finished is not exactly how I expected. But we got the sweep. Those guys competed hard both days.”

Roehner and Beach entered Friday’s competition first and second in the point standings. Thursday’s first day of the decathlon saw athletes compete in the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump.

On Friday, they competed in the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500.

A redshirt senior, Beach finished No. 8 in the NCAA Outdoor Championships decathlon last year and was a first-team all-American in 2011 and 2013. He’s a two-time NCAA Indoor champion in the heptathlon, claiming national championships in 2012 and earlier this year.

For all that success, he’s never won a decathlon at the ACC Outdoors.

“That was a goal coming in,” Wilbourn said. “That was what we hoped to do. He just was banged up a little bit. He had an ankle thing, an Achilles’, an elbow. He was just a little beat up from the indoor season. He really struggled more than we had hoped.”

Beach said the main problem was his elbow, which he broke as a sixth-grader. His 12th place finish in the javelin on Friday displayed how much that joint adversely affected him. He was visibly in pain following his throws and the low finish cost him the title.

Because of the elbow, he hadn’t thrown the javelin in competition since last year’s NCAA meet. The javelin is not part of the seven-event heptathlon.

“I hurt it on my third attempt (Friday),” Beach said. “The first two were just really bad throws because I hadn’t thrown it in forever. So I really tried to crank it.”

The javelin throw was the ninth event, leaving only the 1,500. Roehner and Rock were atop the standings entering the 1,500, Beach’s best event.

He showed that by winning the race with a time of 4:17.32, which put him 24 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Chaz Hawkins from Duke.

Rohner placed fourth in the 1,500 but that performance was good enough to leave him with 7,233 points, a personal best and the third-best score in school history.

“I didn’t expect it coming in,” Rohner said of his ACC title. “My teammates, Curtis Beach and Ian Rock, those guys are such great athletes. I had a good first day. The podium was my goal. I just took care of my events and it worked out for me.”

Rock won the pole vault Friday by clearing 16-6¾. He scored 7,122 points in his second-place finish.

Beach set the school record by scoring 8,084 points three years ago. His outstanding run in the 1,500 Friday allowed him to finish third with 6,997.

He will seek medical attention to see what options are available for his ailing elbow as he seeks a return to one more NCAA outdoor meet in June.

“He could be an all-American in the decathlon,” Wilbourn said. “The elbow is going to hurt him in the javelin. We’ll talk to the doctor.”

Meanwhile, his sterling Duke career will end without an ACC decathlon championship. But seeing Rohner and Rock do so well left a smile on Beach’s face nevertheless.

“I thought this was my year but Robert comes in and takes it,” Beach said. “He’s got a bright future. Both of these guys do, a really, really bright future in the decathlon.”

LIVE RESULTS, SCHEDULE OF EVENTS



A LOOK AT UNC'S PERFORMANCE ON DAY

UNC ATHLETICS

The University of North Carolina track and field teams wrapped up the second day of competition of the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The women’s team is tied for third with 33 points while the men’s team sits in fourth place with 23 points.
 
“It feels like the indoor championship all over again,” North Carolina head coach Harlis Meaders said. “Going into the final day, the points are tight; it’s a three-team race with Florida State, Notre Dame and us again. We’ve got opportunities. We’ve got a couple more opportunities than we had indoors. It’s going to be another tight team championship. What our team has to do is in the events we don’t have Florida State and Notre Dame, we have to challenge them and score big points. In the races where we are racing against Notre Dame and FSU head-to-head, we have to hold our own. It’s not going to be over until the 4x400s, like it was indoors, and I think our guys are expecting that, and I think that’s what we wanted. It’s going to be a great day. The weather could play a twist in it; we may get a little more rain and wind to add drama to it, but I wouldn’t have it any way.”
 
The Tar Heels had three women competing in the heptathlon. Xenia Rahn finished second with 5,483 points, earning eight points towards the team score. Emily Godwin set a new personal record at 5,190 and earned four points for the women’s squad placing fifth. Tory Kemp finished in sixth and with 5,151 points, a new personal record, giving the team three points. Godwin’s score now ranks her as the seventh best junior heptathlete in the world, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations.
 
The decathletes had similar success. Joe Hutchinson, Ryan Ramsey and Paul Haley went four-five-six respectively. Hutchinson ended with the day with 6,862 points. Ramsey finished with 6,809 and a new personal record. Haley also set a personal record at 6,775. Between the three decathletes, the team earned twelve points.
 
Chris DiLorenzo finished his last ACC Outdoor Championship meet today. The senior threw 57-3 ½ (17.46 meters) and placed fourth overall.
 
Sarah Howard finished fifth in the women’s shot put with her final throw being her best. She threw 51-8 ¼ (15.75 meters) and gave the women’s team four points.
 
Cameron Overstreet finally edged over her PR with a new height of 13-8 ½ (4.18 meters) in the pole vault and placed fourth overall. Overstreet extended her second-best mark in school history with that vault. Amanda Benninghoff, a freshman, cleared 13-0 ¾ (3.98 meters) for a new PR and placed eighth overall.
 
Dan Mykityshyn and Steve Magnuson both placed in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Mykityshyn took sixth at 9:01.17, a new personal record, and Magnuson finished seventh at 9:02.64.
 
Roy Smith ran 14.01 in the 110-meter hurdles shattering his PR and setting the fifth-fastest time in school history in the event. Smith’s time qualifies him for the finals tomorrow. Devon Carter also qualified for the final with 14.13.
 
Cory Nicholls cruised in his heat of the 800 and set a new PR at 1:49.51. With his victory in the heat Nicholls automatically qualifies for the final.
 
Ceo Ways and Kwame Donyinah both qualified for the men’s 400 finals tomorrow. Ways won his heat and automatically qualified while Donyinah earned the last qualifying mark at 46.84, a new PR.
 
The team has had some slips, but other members have responded when the opportunity arises. Meaders said that’s a characteristic of a great team.
 
“You’re not going to have everybody good on the same day,” said Meaders. “But when you have somebody you expect to qualify not qualify, then someone else has to step up and carry the ball. That’s what you’re seeing. We had a couple of athletes who sort of had a bad day and didn’t advance, but somebody else picked it up and ran with it. That’s the strength of a good team. We saw that at Florida. We saw that at High Point. We saw that at Stanford. Across all the disciplines: sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, distance events… We’ve got good people. So the rule is, ‘Don’t panic.’ Somebody else is there. It’s a team event not just individual.”
 
The team has been led by a handful of underclassmen so far, something Meaders touched on.
 
“It just goes to show the strength of our recruiting,” Meaders said. “Coach VanAlstyne, Coach Langley, Coach Hudson and Coach Rubin have all done fantastic jobs. If you look at the people who Coach Langley has brought in… Emily Godwin is doing exceptionally well in the multis. Coach Rubin brought in Ceo who has run great in the short and medium sprints. He’s made his name known on the national level as a true freshman. If you look outside that, we have Kwame Donyinah from Charlotte who ran exceptionally well. Cory Nicholls also a freshman ran really well. On the ladies side we just continue to show we are recruiting the right people and we have the program going in the right direction. The future of this program is real exciting.”
 
Florida State leads the men’s competition with 48 points and trailing behind at 46 is Duke. Syracuse has 33 points after two days in third place while UNC comes in at fourth with 23. Rounding out the top five is Virginia Tech with 21.
 
On the women’s side Florida State also has the top spot with 67 points. In second place is Virginia Tech with 37. Tied for third place is UNC and Duke with 33 points and in fifth place is NC State with 30 points.
 
The last day of competition for the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships is tomorrow and will start at 11 a.m. with the men’s javelin. Live results and a link to a video stream can be found on Goheels.com. At the end of the day a full recap of performances and results will also be on Goheels.com.
 

A LOOK AT DUKE'S PERFORMANCE ON DAY 2

DUKE ATHLETICS

Duke’s decathletes put in dominant performances en route to a sweep of the 10-event competition on the second day of the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday. The Duke men’s team ended day two with 46 points and sit in second place, just two points shy of first. The women’s team scored 33 points and is currently in 3rd place.

Sophomore Robert Rohner became the first Blue Devil to win a decathlon title at the conference championship after amassing 7,233 points. Rohner paced a Duke contingent that took the first three places, as junior Ian Rock placed second with 7,122 points and graduate student Curtis Beach finished third with 6,997 points. Freshman Chaz Hawkins, competing in his first collegiate decathlon, placed 12th with 6,296 points.

Combined, the trio contributed 24 points towards the team score.

“I can’t really describe [the feeling],” Rohner said. “I didn’t really expect it coming in. I had a really good first day. I just took care of my events and it worked out for me. I’m really happy about it.”

The decathlon opened with the 110m hurdles. After a false start, Beach recomposed himself and ran 15.51, the third-fastest time in the event. Rock jump-started his second-day of competition with a personal-record time of 15.62 in the event. Rohner and Hawkins rounded out the Duke contingent with times of 16.18 and 16.80, respectively.

Rohner earned his sixth top-three finish of the decathlon with a second-place finish in the discus. Rohner sent the implement 124-6.00 (37.95), nearly matching his personal-best of 124-6.00 (37.96). Rock moved into seventh-place in the discus with a final throw of 107-9.00 (32.84), while Beach’s distance of 106-8.00 (32.52) on his second throw placed him eighth.

Rock exhibited his pole vaulting prowess in the third-to-last event, clearing 16-6.75 (5.05) on his third attempt to win the event by nearly a foot. Beach and Rohner joined Rock in placing in the top eight. Beach cleared a height of 14-7.25 (4.45), while Rohner matched his personal-best height of 13-7.25 (4.15).

Rohner extended his lead in the decathlon in the final throwing event, the javelin. With a personal-best mark of 176-1.00 (53.69), the Sumter, S.C., native placed third. The third-place finish was his seventh top-three finish. Rock earned a second-place finish in the event with a mark of 177-8 (54.15), allowing him to maintain his second-place position heading into the final event of the competition.

With one event remaining, the 1,500m run, the lead that Rohner had established proved too great for his competitors to make up. Beach won the final event with a time of 4:17.32, however Rohner completed the two-day contest with a 1,500 time of 4:42.48, solidifying his victory. Rock finished the 1,500 with a time of 4:42.38 for a second-place finish.

“It was a great couple of days,” said Duke Associate Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn. “We got the sweep and those guys competed hard both days. It was an impressive performance by Robert, who was just a sprinter in high school. He’s learning all of these events and rapidly picking them up. I knew he was going to be really good. He’s wired for it.”

Additional point scorers for the men’s team included senior Tanner Anderson, who placed third in the high jump with a clearance of 6-11.75 (2.13). Sophomore Carl Heinz and redshirt junior Michael Krone scored additional points in the high jump for the Blue Devils, placing fifth and tied for seventh, respectively. Heinz cleared 6-9.50 (2.07) and Krone leapt over the bar set at 6-8.25 (2.04).

On the track, junior Shaun Thompson placed fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase, clocking a time of 8:58.14. Thompson worked his way through the field during the race and made multiple passes over the final 800m to earn five points for the Blue Devils.

Redshirt sophomore Stephen Boals also added to the team’s point total, placing sixth in the shot put with a mark of 54-7.25 (16.64). Boals’ sixth-place effort came on his second attempt of the event.

On the women’s side, Duke collected six points in the shot put as redshirt senior Michelle Anumba placed third with a season-best mark of 52-10.75 (16.12). Redshirt freshman Urina Harrell posted a strong performance in the first round as well, winning flight one with a mark of 47-0.75 (14.32) and moving her on to the finals. Anumba earned All-ACC honors in the shot put for the third time in her career, while Harrell competed in her first ACC Championships.

“Going into the meet, [Urina and I] talked about how her sole goal was to make finals,” Duke Throws Coach B.J. Linnenbrink said. “You have to win your flight and give yourself the best opportunity to make finals, and she did that. It was a good experience.”

In the final, Anumba was unable to improve on her first throw of the day, placing the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native third overall. Harrell sent the shot 47-9 (14.55), a personal-best mark, on her second attempt of the finals, placing her ninth overall in the competition.

“That’s the one thing we work on is putting a good one out in the first three, because that’s what advances you on to the next round,” Linnenbrink said. “That adage held true today [for Anumba]. I was hoping [16.12] would hold on for the win, but she competed real well. I’m happy with where we are.”

Sophomore pole vaulter Megan Clark added six points to Duke’s point total with a third-place finish in the pole vault. The Duke school record holder cleared 14-0.25 (4.28) on her second attempt at the height.

The scoring for Duke opened with the first throwing event of the day as freshman Christine Streisel, competing in her first ACC Championship, earned four points for the Blue Devils with a fifth-place finish in the javelin. Streisel sent the javelin 157-5.00 (47.99) on her second attempt, qualifying her for the finals. In the finals, the Tamaqua, Pa., native was unable to improve on her second attempt, with her finals-best throw of 157-4.00 (47.96) coming on her second attempt of the second round.

After two days of competition, redshirt sophomore Teddi Maslowski led the Blue Devils in the heptathlon with a fourth-place finish after amassing 5,265 points. In addition to a personal record, Maslowski’s point total also ranks second on Duke’s all-time list. Redshirt sophomore Karli Johonnot concluded competition with a seventh-place finish after amassing 4,987 points and senior Miray Seward placed 10th with a point total of 4,505.

In the long jump, the first event of the day for the heptathlon, Maslowski led the Blue Devils with a fourth-place mark of 18-9.25 (5.72). Maslowski’s farthest jump of the day came on her second attempt.

The javelin, the penultimate event of the competition, saw Maslowski place seventh with a throw of 102-1.00 (31.12), the third time this season she sent the implement over 100 feet.

In the final event of the competition, Maslowski put an exclamation point on the day with a season-best 800m time of 2:15.45. The Burgettstown, Pa., native led from the start and never relinquished her position. Johonnot finished the seven-event competition with an 800m time of 2:21.00 and a third-place finish in the event, while Seward placed 14th in a time of 2:33.62.

Numerous preliminary rounds of track events were run on Friday, with a handful of Blue Devils qualifying for the finals scheduled for Saturday.

Freshman Madeline Kopp secured a spot in the final of the 400 after finishing second in her heat in a time of 54.08. Kopp’s time was the fifth fastest in the preliminary heats of the event, qualifying her for Saturday’s final at 5 p.m.

Duke qualified two 800m runners in junior Abby Farley and sophomore Anima Banks. Farley ran the third-fastest qualifying time, covering the distance in a time of 2:06.02. Farley’s time currently ranks fourth on Duke’s all-time list. Banks also earned a personal-best, running a time of 2:06.74 to earn a spot in the final, scheduled for Saturday at 5:40 p.m.

The final day of competition begins Saturday at 11 a.m. with the men’s javelin. The conclusion of the championships will air LIVE on ESPN3, beginning at 4 p.m.