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Blue Devils head to 112th Penn Relays

Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006

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DURHAM, NC - The Duke track and field team heads north for the 112th annual Penn Relays, held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field Thursday through Saturday. Last year’s women’s team claimed Duke’s first-ever title at the event when the distance medley relay squad won in a school-record time.

This year, Duke brings a team that boasts 11 regional qualifiers, three NCAA automatic and provisional qualifiers and 27 ECAC/IC4A qualifiers. The competitive field at the Penn Relays could produce more qualifying marks as well. All 12 Atlantic Coast Conference schools, which competed against each other at last weekend’s ACC Championships, will be in attendance this weekend.

The Duke action will kick off Thursday at 10 a.m. with the women’s pole vault. Sophomore Lara Jones will represent the Blue Devils while looking to improve her career-best, regional qualifying and ACC runner-up clear of 12-9.5. At the same time, junior Kelly Reynolds, who holds Duke’s record in the hammer throw at 180-11, will compete in that event.

An event to watch for Duke fans will be the women’s javelin, contested at 2 p.m. Thursday. Sophomore Daina Pucurs won her first ACC title in the javelin Saturday at the ACC Championships with a school-record toss of 168-8, currently the 12th-best throw in the NCAA this season. Junior Beth Maher also holds a regional qualifying mark in the javelin and will compete Thursday. The distance medley relay team will have a chance to defend Duke’s title from a year ago at 4:50 on Thursday.

Friday’s action will be highlighted by junior Debra Vento in the high jump. After coming within reach several times before, Vento won her first ACC crown last weekend by jumping 5-10.75. Vento has competed four times already this season and reached the regional qualifying standard each time.

Mark Dellavolpe will try to improve his regional mark in the men’s javelin Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Dellavolpe was a top-five contender at the ACC Championships over the weekend.

Duke will compete in events through 4:30 p.m. Saturday before heading back to Durham.

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