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Carta is doused by teammates after she won the NCAA crown

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uke freshman Virginia Elena Carta put her name on some impressive lists when she won the recent NCAA women’s golf individual championship in record fashion. The 19-year-old from Italy became the fourth Blue Devil to win the national golf title, the 24th Duke student-athlete to win an NCAA individual crown and the seventh Honda Sport Award winner from her tradition-rich program. The specifics behind Carta’s performance in Eugene, Ore., from May 20-23 can be found on pages 14-16. Her eight-stroke margin of victory was the best ever at the NCAA women’s tournament, as was her 272 final score and her 16-under par finish, built on four straight rounds shot in the 60s. Her score through three rounds was also an NCAA mark at 13-under par, blowing away the previous mark of 9-under that belonged to Grace Park of Arizona State (1998), Jennifer Rosales of Southern California (1998), Virada Nirapathpongporn of Duke (2002) and Annie Park of Southern California (2013). When she completed 72 holes comfortably in first place, she became the eighth freshman to win the event. Carta’s selection as the Honda Award winner for golf came several days after her return from nationals and made her one of the finalists for the 2016 Honda Cup, which goes to the collegiate woman athlete of the year across 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. That winner is revealed June 27 in Los Angeles. “I couldn’t feel more honored and privileged to be the winner of this award,” Carta said of her

TIM COWIE

Honda golf honor. “Receiving such a prestigious award is a dream of every athlete. These past two weeks have been a dream for me. Winning the individual national title and right after being nominated for this award and winning this award, well, I am really excited and speechless. I cannot thank enough all the administrators who voted for me and that believed in me and in my abilities. I would like to thank my coaches, the entire staff at Duke, my teammates and my friends for all the support throughout my freshman year. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.” Honda Sport Awards have been presented annually for 40 years by the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards (CWSA). Since its sponsorship began in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners. Duke NCAA Golf Champions Candy Hannemann (2001) Virada Nirapathpongporn (2002) Anna Grzebien (2005) Virginia Elena Carta (2016) Duke Honda Award Winners for Golf Candy Hannemann (2001) Virada Nirapathpongporn (2002) Anna Grzebien (2005) Amanda Blumenherst (2007, 2008) Celine Boutier (2014) Virginia Elena Carta (2016)


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> The Numbers Game 2

Silver medals won by senior Anima Banks at the 2016 ACC Track Championships on May 15. She ran the second fastest 1,500 meters in school history at 4:14.67, then just over an hour later went 2:02.50 in the 800 meters, also the second best ever at Duke. Her performance in the 800 qualifies her for the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer.

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Standout performances by former Duke swimmer Ashley Twichell (Class of 2011) at the recent Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte. She won the 1,500-meter freestyle with the second fastest time in the world this year (16:11.19), then took second place in the 800 freestyle with a time (8:30.45) that qualifies her for the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

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Consecutive years that Duke’s Myles Jones earned lacrosse’s Lt. j.g. Donald MacLaughlin Jr. Award as the national midfielder of the year. A three-time All-America pick, Jones became the first midfielder in NCAA Division I history to register 100 goals and 100 assists in a career. His 231 career points rank second amond midfielders in NCAA history.

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Duke’s place at the 2016 ACC Rowing Championships, which helped the Blue Devils earn an atlarge bid to the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. Three Duke boats — V8, 2V8 and V4 — took second at ACCs, while coach Megan Cooke Carcagno was named ACC coach of the year.

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The Duke wrestling squad’s national rank in team grade point average among all Division I programs this year, with a mark of 3.348. The Blue Devils trailed only Harvard, Sacred Heart and Brown. Duke, which moved up two spots from last year, was the lone ACC team ranked in the Top 30. The Devils have been ranked in the top five eight times.

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Former Duke players on opening day rosters for the start of the WNBA’s 20th season: Alana Beard and Chelsea Gray with Los Angeles, Monique Currie and Haley Peters with San Antonio, plus Mistie Bass (PHX), Karima Christmas (DAL), Jasmine Thomas (CONN), Lindsey Harding (NY) and Elizabeth Williams (ATL).

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Career singles wins for tennis standout Beatrice Capra, who capped off her college tenure by being named the ITA Carolina Region senior player of the year for 2016. Capra earned first team All-ACC honors four times and was both ACC player and rookie of the year back in 2012. She missed Duke’s last six matches of this season due to injury.

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Career international appearances for Duke soccer star Rebecca Quinn with the Canadian Women’s National Team over the past three years, with eight starts and three goals scored. The 20-year-old defender took the spring semester off from Duke to compete with her country’s WNT in hopes of making its Olympic roster this summer.

Rebecca Quinn (5) at Olympic qualifying match for Canada MEXSPORT

Cutcliffe received an autographed base at Yankee Stadium DUKE ATHLETICS

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Jersey number worn by Duke football coach David Cutcliffe when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium on May 13 prior to a New York Yankees-Chicago White Sox baseball game. Duke won the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium last December. Cutcliffe describes himself as a lifelong Yankees fan.


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> Blue Devils of the Year

The on-field accomplishments of Duke senior student-athletes Lauren Blazing and Deemer Class were witnessed and celebrated in stadiums all over the country over the course of their careers, while their successes in the classroom often were seen and recognized by few and behind closed doors. That changed in April at Duke’s annual Student-Athlete Talent and Recognition Show (STARS) when they were honored as the Blue Devils’ ACC Senior Scholar Athletes of the Year. Recently graduated, it is without a doubt Blazing and Class have bright futures ahead of them in all facets as they both pursue endeavors both athletically and professionally. A field hockey star for the Blue Devils, Blazing has been training with the U.S. women’s national team in Lancaster, Pa., in the hopes of making the final roster for the upcoming Olympic Games. When her time with the national team is complete, the Durham, N.C., native plans to pursue a law degree. In the long term, Blazing intends to use a law degree to advocate for women through civil rights or employment discrimination law.

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KEVIN LILES

Class, one of the best midfielders to wear a Duke men’s lacrosse jersey, will join the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse as well as move to New York City to start his job in the financial world. He spent last summer working as an intern in New York, parlaying the position into a full-time job. Blazing, who hails from Durham, guided Duke to the NCAA semifinals for the second time in the last three seasons this past fall. She is graduated with degrees in cultural anthropology and political science. Earlier this spring, Blazing was named an NFHCA Scholar of Distinction for the fourth consecutive season, in addition to being recognized on the 2015 ZAG Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad. At the conference level, she was selected the ACC Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season and was honored with an ACC postgraduate scholarship. Blazing’s numerous academic laurels also include receiving the Elite 90 Award at the 2015 NCAA Field Hockey Championship Banquet, four All-ACC Academic


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Team selections and two Academic All-America first team accolades. On the field, Blazing led all ACC goalkeepers in save percentage (.786) for the season while collecting first team All-America, All-South Region and All-ACC honors. She compiled a 49-29 record in four seasons as the Blue Devils’ starting goalkeeper and became just the seventh player in program history to earn All-America accolades on three or more occasions. Blazing rounded out her career ranked third all-time at Duke in saves (385) and goals against average (1.46) and was eighth in save percentage (.767). Class, after leaving his mark in the Duke records book, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. A two-time All-American and one of just 11 Blue Devils to earn AllACC honors three times in his career, Class led all Duke goal scorers this season with a Duke midfielder record 50. Overall this season, Class had nine hat tricks and four five-plus point games, including a seven-goal performance in Duke’s overtime win over Syracuse.

Class, a part of one of the most dynamic midfield duos in NCAA history (with classmate Myles Jones), finished his career ranked ninth in career goals (134) and 12th in career points (199). He is just the sixth midfielder in NCAA Division I history to record 50 goals in a season and just the ninth Blue Devil player overall to do so. Off the field, Class has been an exemplary student-athlete. He is a three-time All-ACC Academic Team and ACC Honor Roll selection and volunteers with teammates at the Ronald McDonald House in preparing meals for families. Recently, the Blue Devils were honored for amassing the second most yards – 1,782,000 – in the Yards for Yeardley program in memory of University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love.     While the opportunity to add to their Duke legacies has come to a close, there is no doubt Class and Blazing will continue to leave their marks for many to see as they begin to build their post-Duke resumés. — Meredith Rieder

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GRANT HALVERSON

A Heavy Weight Lifted Duke Baseball makes long-waited return to NCAA postseason By Barry Jacobs

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All-ACC outfielder Jimmy Herron (30) celebrates one of Duke’s 14 ACC victories

his was a wet, gray spring in North Carolina, with rain falling virtually every day for more than a month. So when the clouds broke shortly after noon on the last Monday in May, and Durham Bulls Athletic Park was bathed in sunlight, it seemed tellingly appropriate to the moment. The moment when Duke, which plays its home games at the Triple-A ballpark in downtown Durham, the squad that watched ESPNU’s “The Road to Omaha” selection show at a restaurant overlooking left field at the DBAP, had been chosen at long last for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. For more than a half-century, since before any of its coaches or players were born, the Blue Devils had been a baseball afterthought in the Triangle and the ACC, residing on the outskirts of competitiveness for season after season, decade after decade. Those long, dark ages so resembled the history of the school’s football program, baseball coach Chris Pollard repeatedly turned to David Cutcliffe for advice and support as he orchestrated a quiet renaissance that bore fruit in his fourth year on the job. Pollard, a 42-year-old with a salt-and-pepper goatee, admitted the NCAA drought weighed on the 2016 Blue Devils as they rallied in May to earn the bid that had eluded them for so long. “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that we didn’t feel it a little bit down the stretch,” said Pollard. “Every single one of our players and coaches felt the weight of that history, and to overcome that showed a tremendous amount of hard work.”

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The Devils started the 2016 ACC schedule 1-7, including a sweep by North Carolina, part of a 2-9 stretch that spanned the second half of March. Those early stumbles left the team 10-13 near the midpoint of the season, its RPI No. 116. There didn’t appear to be much reason to worry about making the NCAA Tournament; just finishing over .500 seemed a sufficiently lofty goal. Such modest baseball achievements had become painfully par for the course at Duke after a bright start to its ACC tenure. Back when a single representative from the new league advanced to the NCAAs, the Blue Devils reached postseason three times in a sixyear period (1956, 1957, 1961). A half-dozen times in the ACC’s initial decade the Devils finished in the top half of the league, and posted a winning conference record, behind the coaching of Clarence McKay “Ace” Parker, the Duke great and former pro in football and baseball. The Blue Devils finished atop the league standings on three occasions during that formative ACC era, most recently in 1961. The ’61 club, led by first-team All-ACC infielder Lynn Fader, advanced to the College World Series, a feat the program previously achieved in its final two seasons of Southern Conference play (1952, 1953). Then, as if someone hit a switch, or more aptly a wall, Duke stopped winning. There were only three seasons — 1963, 1994 and 2014 — among the ensuing 55 in which the Devils posted a winning ACC record. Three other times they broke even in league play. The other 49 seasons, including this one, produced losing marks in conference competition.


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GRANT HALVERSON

Third baseman Jack Labosky (6) led Duke in homers and had a 2.20 ERA as a relief pitcher for fourth-year coach Chris Pollard Lack of success within the league was magnified once the conference expanded in 2006 and began excluding the weakest teams from its postseason championship tournament. This year’s appearance in the ACC Tournament was only the third by Duke in those last 11 years but the second in Pollard’s four seasons at the helm. To get that far, and to secure its third straight 30-win season, Duke rallied to win five of seven ACC series starting in April, including three on the road. Among those conquests was perennial power Florida State and 2016 ACC champion Clemson. The Devils finished 9-2 overall in May, and didn’t lose outside the league after March 22 against East Carolina, an eventual NCAA entrant. “Towards the beginning of the year obviously we had our struggles,” Pollard said. “But just watching the team kind of evolve through the season has really been fun to watch.” Tarnishing their late surge, the Blue Devils immediately lost a play-in game against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament, the outcome determining who advanced to pool play and who went home. Duke left a dozen men on base in the 4-3 defeat, allowing a crucial base runner to advance and ultimately score on a sacrifice fly played too casually in shallow right field. Still, Pollard — known to stay up until 2 AM monitoring Twitter traffic about the merits of teams around the country vying for the 64 berths in the NCAAs — remained outwardly confident his squad’s overall effort justified inclusion. Surely it helped that the Blue Devils finished seventh in the ACC, which ultimately tied the SEC for the all-time record with 10 members in the 2016 NCAA Division I baseball tournament. “I think we’ve played as well, I think if you really take a deep dive into the numbers, we’ve played as well as anybody in the country over the second half of the season,” the coach declared after the Demon Deacon defeat. “I think most of the folks that really know our sport had us in going into today, and I can’t see where anything that happened on the field today would take that away from us.” This was a squad that got by primarily on timely hitting, good fielding and superior pitching. Cleanup batter Justin Bellinger hit .336. Freshman outfielder Jimmy Herron, the leadoff hitter and a second team All-ACC

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pick, hit .328 through May, tied for the ACC lead in doubles (22) and was second in steals (24 in 28 attempts). Fellow sophomore Jack Labosky, an infielder and relief pitcher, likewise made second team. Collectively, though, Duke ranked next-to-last in batting average in the ACC. The Devils made up for that deficiency with the league’s fourth-best fielding percentage and a staff earned run average that ranked sixth. The pitching staff was led by a trio of graduate students — right-handers Brian McAfee and Kellen Urbon and lefty Trent Swart. Those three matched the total number of grad students on the ACC’s other 13 squads combined. Swart, redshirted at Duke while recovering from Tommy John surgery, paced active ACC pitchers in career strikeouts and was second in innings pitched. McAfee, among the ’16 league leaders in innings pitched and complete games, was given the start in Duke’s NCAA opener against UNC Wilmington at Columbia, S.C. He and Urbon, tops on the team in ERA (2.87), redshirted for a year due to injury while at Cornell. But the Ivy League won’t let grad students compete, so they transferred to Duke to take a Master’s program at the Fuqua Business School and were able to play immediately. Then all the pieces fell into place and Duke, its RPI up to No. 26 by season’s end, got its breakthrough NCAA bid. “It’s something that we’ve been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Urbon said. “This has been our goal and everything that we do in the fall, summer, in the winter — this is what we’re working towards.” In a way, the ultimate NCAA result — Duke went 0-2 at the Columbia, S.C., regional — was secondary. Getting there set a new standard and a new level of expectations. Now, bolstered by a developing batting order; a recruiting edge resulting from a seven-year deal making the DBAP its home field; and a coaching staff that led the program to an average of 31 wins annually over four seasons, Duke can envision 2016 as a new beginning. Or, rather, a return to the success the program enjoyed when the ACC was young.


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KEEP CALM AND

TIM COWIE

SLAY THE COURSE

Buoyed by a relaxed demeanor, rising confidence and a hot putter, a Duke freshman storms to the NCAA championship

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By John Roth

regon has long been regarded as fertile territory for Duke women’s golf. It is the state that produced the school’s Hall of Fame coach Dan Brooks, the state where his program won the third of its six NCAA team championships, the state where Duke sophomore Anna Grzebien once fired a 65 en route to an NCAA individual crown, and the state where Blue Devil luminary Amanda Blumenherst won the U.S. Women’s Amateur the summer before her senior year. So perhaps the expectation of another gargantuan golfing feat should have accompanied the 2016 Duke team when it arrived at verdant Eugene Country Club for this year’s NCAA Championships. Freshman Virginia Elena Carta had a premonition along those lines with her pre-tournament hunch that the medalist would shoot 16-under par over the four rounds of stroke play. What she didn’t know was that 16-under would be the best score ever for an NCAA champ; what she didn’t predict was that she would be the one to card that record total over the course of 72 remarkable holes. Any fact-based forecast probably would have pinpointed sophomore Leona Maguire as the Blue Devil most likely to succeed at nationals, given her team-leading stroke average, lofty world amateur rankings and four collegiate victories. But Steph Curry and LeBron James don’t lead their NBA teams in scoring every game. Carta had factored into the Duke lineup in all nine previous tournaments of her rookie year and carried a respectable 73.12 average to Eugene, then she got the hot hand at NCAAs by shooting four straight rounds in the 60s. The win was her first as a collegian and granted her admission into the exclusive club of Blue Devils who have earned NCAA individual golf titles — alongside Candy Hannemann (2001), Virada Nirapathpongporn (2002) and Grzebien (2005). Carta’s eight-stroke margin of victory

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Virginia Elena Carta, a 19-year-old freshman from Italy, won the 2016 national title in record-breaking fashion was the biggest ever at nationals, and her final two holes were among the most memorable of her young career. “Halfway through the 17th, I saw my teammate and friend Leona — she was on the 18th and she turned to me and smiled, and that smile meant the world to me because I realized I was about to win,” said Carta, a native of Italy who has been playing golf since the age of 8. “The 18th hole was probably the best hole of my life because I started relaxing with eight shots in the lead … Arriving on the green and seeing my team behind the green and all my friends still there was awesome… (and when) I tapped in the last putt it was one of the best feelings ever. “I did not expect to feel all those feelings and to be that happy and excited,” she added, recalling an impromptu water bottle shower provided by her fellow Blue Devils. “It was great to share it with my teammates and coaches and friends who supported me not only in this tournament but who have always supported me.” Though surprising, Carta’s NCAA run did not materialize completely out of the blue northwest skies. Her game improved over the course of the season and her momentum began to build with four straight top-10 finishes entering nationals. Her last round before Eugene was her first sub-70 of the year — a 5-under par 67 to close regionals — and she was able to string together four more of those to secure the crown. Carta said she felt at home on the tree-lined Eugene layout, comparing it to a typical European course, and praised the well-maintained fairways where her long game sparkled. But she also turned in a scintillating short game and led the field in birdies with 20 thanks to some deft putting. After reviewing her statistics with her coaches late in the year, she realized that her putter had been a season-long weakness and addressed it in several workouts leading into NCAAs. “Then during the practice round at nationals I started realizing I was making more putts,


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and I had a great feeling on those greens,” she said. Carta opened with a 3-under 69 and was one shot off the lead after round one. She was better on day two with a 68, but fell to two shots off the lead. Everything changed on the third day when she fired a 6-under 66 to storm into first place. The bogey-free round required only 29 putts and moved her overall score to 13-under par, a new NCAA Championships record for 54 holes (the old mark was 9-under). She owned a sixstroke lead entering the fourth round and was never seriously challenged, rolling in a 40-foot putt on the third hole, posting four birdies on the front nine and cruising to another 69 to finish at 16-under 272 while becoming the eighth freshman to win the title. “I was playing well the first two days, but I realized it wasn’t enough and that the tournament was long,” Carta noted. “The third day was a big day. I shot 6-under and it was just unbelievable. Especially the last putt I made on the last hole — it was emotionally great and unexpected. That gave me a lot of confidence, leading going into the last day.” While Carta enjoyed her best putting performance of the year, the aspect of her game that may have shown the most growth in Eugene was the way she managed the few adverse situations she faced and did not permit them to derail her confidence. She reacted to a double-bogey during the first round, when she was 4-under par, by refocusing on the next shot. When she missed an easy four-foot birdie putt on the following hole, she said she was happy about it because it reminded her to keep playing one shot at a time. “Two months ago it would have been a problem and I probably would have started playing really bad,” she said. When she three-putted on the opening hole of the second round, she treated it as a “positive alarm” for the day rather than an occasion to panic. “I’m okay,” she told herself. “Now you have to be focused on the green. You cannot three-putt. You haven’t been three-putting all week long, so just be focused. So even if I only had just two bogeys and one double all week, they meant a lot. They made me be even more focused. I saw them with a positive mindset. “One of the biggest lessons I learned this week was how I was able to change negative things to positive and be really patient on the course,” she explained. “It’s never happened before and I worked really hard to have it and this week it was working and it was perfect … I’ve always known that was one of my weaknesses. I worked a lot since I was a child of trying to see the positive aspects of everything. And it’s also a life improvement kind of thing, because in life you need to change every negative event or every negative aspect of a thing into a positive one. So I have been trying to work hard on it in my life and also in my golf since I was little.” Lately Carta also has been trying hard to rein in some of her natural Italian exuberance on the course and play her game in a more relaxed, calm state. Brooks and his staff have worked with her on relaxation techniques and deep breathing, and even Amanda Blumenherst — who was in Eugene working for Golf Channel — counseled her before the fourth round that the key was to breathe and focus on her game, shot by shot. “I’ve always been really energetic,” Carta said. “I played many sports. I’m all over the place. I run from one place to another. That’s a problem during tournaments. I should calm down, breathe, relax, stop being nervous, and that’s what helped me during this tournament, the fact of breathing and being really calm and relaxed. And I tried to focus on my game, not on everyone else’s game. Yes it’s an Italian characteristic to be all over the place, but at the same time I should be more focused on my game.” “I have the fortunate problem of just trying to keep her from getting too excited,” Brooks said before nationals, when asked to evaluate Carta’s prospects entering the final tourney of the season. “She’s very Italian. She’s passionate and she loves what we’re doing. She told me at the start of her freshman year that she already feels bad that she’s going to have to graduate in four years. She’s already starting to miss the place and she just got started. So it’s a great problem to have to try to get somebody just to keep breathing and stay calm. It’s wonderful. That’s all

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TIM COWIE

I have to worry about with her. If we can just keep her hat on, everything will be great.” It was obvious that mission was accomplished when Carta was surrounded by television cameras and news crews during her climactic fourth round and was still able to keep her composure hole after hole. “I remember one hole where I had five cameras and three microphones (on me), and I knew I could not say random things because I could be live,” she said. “The fourth round, after talking to Amanda, I was really calm and relaxed and actually enjoyed the presence of the cameras because I could keep being focused, keep using my strategy and think about every single shot.” Carta’s initial celebration of the title was short-lived because team competition continued with match play the following day. She called home to Italy, where her family had been tracking her performance online through the middle of the night, but otherwise ignored her accumulating texts and tweets to prepare for the team quarterfinals. She won her individual match to help the sixth-seeded Blue Devils upset No. 3 Southern Cal 4-1 in the morning, and she won again in the afternoon though her team dropped a 3-2 decision to Stanford in the semifinals. Afterward, Carta returned to Duke for the first session of summer school. In July she will play in the LPGA Marathon Classic in Ohio — a perk that goes to the NCAA champion — and in August she will tee it up at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Pennsylvania. Then it will be time to get ready for her sophomore year. Carta says she has been asked often if winning a national title will lure her into an early departure from Duke in favor of a pro career. But as Brooks’ previous statements indicated, she has no plans to follow that path. “I really want to finish college,” she said. “I need to improve a lot in my game if I want to turn pro in the future. I have this great opportunity to be here at Duke — finish, try to get as (much) advice as I can and improve as much as I can, and then senior year decide what to do with my future.” NCAA Championships week in Oregon provided a glimpse of what that future could be like, in more ways than one. “Virginia played stellar golf start to finish in Eugene,” Brooks said. “Four rounds in the 60s, 16-under-par, eight shots better than the runnerup in stroke play and the lowest ever in an NCAA Championship. Then, she won all her matches. Just as impressive was the class she showed as medalist. Just before we left Eugene Country Club on the last day, Virginia made a final sweep — thanking everyone who played a role in conducting the championship. She was a gracious winner at the site, and has since written many notes and letters. Throughout the season, I could tell Virginia was special; at nationals I discovered she is a true and complete champion.”


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Summer Road Trip

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Women’s soccer spends rewarding week in China

he Duke women’s soccer team — last year’s NCAA runnerup and a prime candidate to contend again in 2016 — enjoyed the rare opportunity to mix soccer, travel and cultural education when the Blue Devils visited Beijing, China, during the first week of June. Fifteen players, their coaches and members of their support staff were the guests of China’s Federation of University Sports. The June 2-9 trip coincided with the seventh annual meeting of the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing. The soccer portion of the adventure included some training sessions, a 1-1 draw in a 90-minute scrimmage against Beijing Normal University, and a 6-3 loss in a Friendship Match against a team composed of China national team players and students from Beijing Normal University. The group also enjoyed a full sightseeing and cultural itinerary that included a visit to the Great Wall; a performance at the Circus World of Beijing Chaoyang Theatre; an afternoon at Beijing Foreign Studies University for hands-on exposure to some traditional Chinese costumes, games and calligraphy; visits to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square; and shopping at the Silk Market. The Blue Devils attended the official ceremony of the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, where they met Secretary of State John Kerry and saw Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming. The trip offered the Duke student-athletes not only a unique opportunity to experience another culture, but also to continue building the kind of personal bonds and chemistry that should aid in team development for the upcoming season. Incoming freshmen were not eligible to make the trip, and four returning starters had previous commitments with national teams and study abroad programs that prevented them from participating. But the rest of the Blue Devils were excited about sharing such a rewarding experience together before embarking on the rest of their summer jobs, internships and training regimes. All 15 players on hand played in both games. The group included seniors Lizzy Raben and Krysia Sikora; juniors Casey Martinez, Imani

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Duke women’s soccer players (top) and head coach Robbie Church (above) during their visit to the Great Wall of China

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY LINDY BROWN

Dorsey, Schuyler DeBree, Malinda Allen, Morgan Reid and E.J. Proctor; sophomores Chelsea Burns, Taylor Racioppi, Kat McDonald, Kayla McCoy, Mary Love Taylor and Anna Munro; and alum Cassie Pecht. Returning starters unable to attend included Christina Gibbons, Toni Payne, Rebecca Quinn and Ashton Miller.


Teams from Duke and China (top) meet for a friendship match in Beijing. Senior captain Lizzy Raben (6) in action and at Beijing Foreign Studies University for cultural activity.

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he WNBA is in the middle of its 20th season with a total of nine former Duke standouts suiting up for seven of the league’s 12 teams. The lineup reads Mistie Bass (Phoenix), Karima Christmas (Dallas), Monique Currie and Haley Peters (San Antonio), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (New York), Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta) and Alana Beard and Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles). Beard is the dean of the Duke contingent. The best women’s basketball player in Duke history — arguably ACC history — Beard was ACC player of the year in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and national player of the year in 2004. She led Duke to the 2002 and 2003 Final Fours — and to the ACC championship in all four of her seasons. Beard spent her first six pro years with the Washington Mystics. She played in four WNBA all-star games while with the Mystics and was second-team All-WNBA in 2006. She was named to the WNBA all-defensive team four times in Washington. Beard accomplished all this while battling assorted injuries, including hamstring issues and a 2007 shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. Then things really started to go wrong. She missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons with assorted left foot and ankle injuries. And two missed seasons is a lot in the professional life of an athlete. “I wasn’t worried about coming back,” she says. “But I did worry about what level I would be able to come back at. What would I be able to do? I wasn’t the same player. I’m not as quick, I can’t jump as well, I can’t create my own shot as well.” Beard signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Sparks in February 2012 and began the next chapter of her professional life. After a lifetime in her hometown of Shreveport, her college town of Durham and her pro town of Washington, D.C., Beard found herself on the West Coast. She says she hasn’t changed and still spends most of her offseason in D.C. But she freely admits she loves living two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. “I wake up every day with the sun and the breeze and great weather.” Beard isn’t the prolific scorer she was back in Washington, where she averaged as much as 19.1 points per game in 2006. She’s about half that. And the injury big won’t leave her alone. She missed half of the 2015 season with plantar fasciitis, although she says she approached the down time as a chance to study and learn the game from the bench. Beard has never lost her zeal for playing great defense. She still scores enough that it’s neither fair nor accurate to characterize her as a defensive specialist. But her defense is elite. A master of jumping the passing lanes, Beard again made the all-defensive team in 2012 and 2014 and is heading for that distinction this year. “Everybody at this level can play great defense,” she says modestly. “You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to make the sacrifices, read the offense, get into the passing lanes. It’s something I can hang my hat on.” Beard won and won big at Duke, and the Sparks jumped out to a great start in 2016. But she hasn’t won the whole thing since high school and at 34 she’s running out of chances. “I certainly hope so,” she responds when asked if this could be a championship year. “We’ve kept the core together.” She praises head coach Brian Agler and his system, comparing it to the San Antonio Spurs, with “lots of ball movement, lots of collective work. You can see it working. We’re all on the same page. I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group.” A WNBA veteran, Agler is in his second year as the Sparks head coach. He has praised Beard’s “maturity, toughness and focus that you have to have to play at a high level in this league.” Beard’s teammates include perennial all-star Candace Parker, former Maryland point guard Kristi Tolliver and former Stanford forward Nneka Ogwumike but also a lot of youngsters. Beard isn’t sure she likes the word “mentor” but admits that her role on the Sparks includes being a “wise voice. If I know something, you will know it. We have conversations.”

Blue Devil in LA: Alana Beard Beard at Duke 2001-04: 4-time ACC champ 3-time ACC player of year 2 Final Fours No. 1 all-time scorer

Beard was instrumental in getting Parker — who is married to former Duke men’s star Shelden Williams — back on the court last season. After a grueling foreign schedule, Parker wasn’t sure about the WNBA until a lunch with Beard helped convince Parker that the Sparks would welcome her back with open arms. Parker returned in midseason, Beard got healthy and LA made a late run to get into the playoffs. One of Beard’s younger teammates is former Duke star Chelsea Gray. Like Beard, Gray’s career has been marred by injuries, although in Gray’s case the injuries — knee injuries — came at Duke. “We’ve been through a lot of the same things,” Beard says. “I reached out to her when she was injured. We had that in common. She has great court vision. She has a chance to be elite. She just has to want it enough.” Beard has played overseas in South Korea, Poland, Israel and Spain but isn’t sure she’s going to keep doing that in the future. She doesn’t have a retirement date in mind, but she admits she’s thinking about it. She and former WNBA teammate Marissa Coleman (who played collegiately at Maryland) are opening a Mellow Mushroom restaurant in Roanoke later this year. But that sort of thing could be a sideline. “I’ve always said ‘No, no, no,’ when asked about coaching. But I enjoy working with kids, helping them develop.” By kids, she makes it clear she’s talking about college kids. So, we might get a chance to follow Coach Beard in the future. But right now, this summer, there’s a championship to pursue.

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SUSIE GALLERY: HER DUKE HEADSHOT FROM 2002 AND SEVERAL RECENT FACEBOOK PORTRAITS

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f you do not already know Susie Abromeit’s name, you soon may. Most recently appearing as Zoe Roth on Chicago Med and as Pam on Netflix’s Marvel show Jessica Jones, Abromeit was not always on the path to Hollywood stardom. As a young teen, the future actress was acting and making music on the side, but her true focus was tennis. At the age of 13, the Concord, Mass., native was a top-ranked tennis prospect and decided to move to Florida to train fulltime. “Given the fact that it’s pretty cold weather and the courts are very expensive (in Massachusetts), it’s easier to train down in Florida. I actually ended up getting recruited by Andy Roddick’s coach at the time… to (attend) Evert Tennis Academy,” Abromeit said. “I went down and I loved it…. So that’s where my focus was on tennis and that was a very significant part of my life for awhile.” An energetic child, Abromeit said that tennis and her creative pursuits — including art, acting and songwriting — gave her positive outlets to channel her energy. However, the move to focus on tennis fulltime meant putting her other interests on the backburner. But that move paid off. Her high school tennis accolades included competing in international tournaments — she won an International Tennis Federation event in Texas as a junior — and ultimately being ranked No. 2 in Florida and No. 6 nationally in her age group. As a tennis player, her ultimate goal was to attend Duke on a full tennis scholarship. As would become obvious later in her acting career, when Abromeit sets her mind to something she is sure to achieve it. Yet once in college, tennis soon became more of a commitment than her true passion. “When I reached the pinnacle, there was nowhere else for me to go,” Abromeit said. “I knew I didn’t want to go on the pro tour. I saw how grueling it was. That wasn’t the life that I really wanted to live.” As a freshman in 2001-02, Abromeit saw limited singles playing time on a Blue Devil team rich with talent, but she was able to compete more often in doubles. Partnered with Amanda Johnson in the third doubles position, the duo began the season ranked 30th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and recorded a 5-3 record, including a victory over a North Carolina doubles team ranked 18. Abromeit then paired with Katie Granson and the twosome compiled a 6-2 record in the ACC while finishing 14-3 overall. An injury further curtailed Abromeit’s court time her second year, and she also grappled with having to pass up opportunities to pursue her creative passions because of her commitment to tennis. Her dilemma reached a tipping point when she was offered a lead, paid role in the play The Shape of Things by her professor Jay O’Berski. “It was really heartbreaking,” she recalled. “I had to re-evaluate a lot of things. I was sitting on the bench watching other people play tennis. Now I’m sitting on the bench also in my acting career.... So I think that’s when I made the decision, this (acting) is what I want to do for the rest of my life, so I should be doing that.” The then-sophomore decided to forgo her tennis scholarship and pursue her new dream by saying “yes” to the opportunities she had to turn down in the past. Her first “yes” came in the form of a musical collaboration with rap-

Blue Devil in LA: Susie Abromeit

per Fat Joe on “Slow Your Roll,” which was played on radio stations across Florida. “That’s when I took some time off to work on my album, to produce it, write it and simultaneously I was acting and booking commercials,” Abromeit said. “I booked a few modeling gigs. I booked a spot for Sports Illustrated…. So the minute I gave up one opportunity, all these other opportunities started flooding me and it was pretty extraordinary. It was an awesome time for that side of my storytelling, in terms of music.” The tennis player turned musician was enjoying success as a recording artist in the Miami music scene when another “yes” opportunity came her way. A song featuring her rapping ended up in the hands of a movie producer, who asked her to audition for the role of a white female rapper in the film Know Thy Enemy. Abromeit got the part and found herself in her first lead role, which served as a springboard as she began building up her resume. Abromeit has appeared in numerous TV series, among them Burn Notice, One Tree Hill, CSI: Miami, Hollywood Heights, As The World Turns, The Haves and the Have Nots and Devious Maids. Her film credits include Sydney White (2007), Sex Drive (2008), I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (2009) which was based on the book by Duke Law grad Tucker Max, Beatdown (2010), Battle: Los Angeles (2011), Setup (2011) with Bruce Willis, and Diving Normal (2013), for which she received a Best Actress Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. Now living in Los Angeles, Abromeit appeared in five episodes of Chicago Med and eight episodes of Jessica Jones this season and recently landed a role in a Hallmark movie. She has also done numerous modeling and magazine shoots, including a spread in Maxim in 2011. Abromeit said that playing alongside renowned actress Carrie-Anne Moss on Jessica Jones was particularly meaningful. “It was one of the best pilots I’ve ever read. I put it on a vision board that I wanted to be a part of the show,” Abromeit said. “It is kind of a dream to be working on a Netflix show with such amazing people.” The actress has aspirations of expanding her repertoire and bringing art to life in other forms. Abromeit has multiple screenplays in the works and hopes to develop her own production company, something she has dreamed about since her days at Duke. “I remember her as being an indelible, bold personality,” noted her former professor O’Berski. “She had the kind of charisma and self-possession you expect from a commercial performer. Susie vibrated at a different frequency from those around her. “At the time she left I believe she was a back-up singer for Fat Joe, but I thought she’d find success as an actor if she went for it.” Despite ending her Duke career prematurely after just two years, Abromeit has fond memories of her time as a Blue Devil and of her former teammates. She recalled a moment with one, Prim Siripipat, from the spring of 2003, right before Duke won the ITA National Team Indoors, which Abromeit referred to as a particular highlight. “I knew I was going to be an actress,” Abromeit said. “I was like ‘Yeah, I’m going to be on a TV show.’ And (Prim) was like ‘Yeah, I’m going to be an ESPN reporter.’ And literally that’s what we’re doing. So it was such a cool moment to put that out in the universe and have that actually come to fruition.”

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JON GARDINER

By Al Featherston

Rising sophomore receiver T.J. Rahming (43 catches last year) looms as one of the key weapons for Duke’s offense in 2016

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avid Cutcliffe has achieved an amazingly consistent level of success as the director of Duke’s football program. Remember, Cutcliffe inherited one of the nation’s worst BCS programs. The Blue Devils averaged just 1.7 wins a season in the 13 years before his arrival — including four winless seasons in that span. It took the new coach a little bit of time to get his program out of that hole. Cutcliffe averaged 3.8 wins in his first four seasons at Duke. But starting in 2012, Cutcliffe has taken the Blue Devil program to a new level — four straight bowl games (for a program with two bowl trips in the previous 50 years) and an average of 8.3 wins a season. During that four-year run, Cutcliffe was able to replace some seemingly irreplaceable players. He overcame several significant injuries in that four-year span and still had the Devils playing at a high level. His program appeared to have achieved a remarkable level of stability. But that stability will be tested this fall after a major revamp of Cutcliffe’s coaching staff, a number of worrisome injuries and the prospect of Duke’s toughest schedule since 2012. The Duke coach recently explained why Duke held spring practice later than normal. “The big reason is this is probably the greatest amount of change we’ve had in the nine years we’ve been at Duke,” he said. Cutcliffe has had to revamp his coaching staff since the Devils beat Indiana last December to earn the program’s first bowl victory in more than half a century. Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery left to become head coach at East Carolina. And veteran offensive line coach John Latina,

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who had overseen one of the anchors of the Duke program, retired, leaving a huge void. Cutcliffe promoted Zac Roper — a member of his staff since his arrival in 2008 — from special teams coordinator to fill Montgomery’s role as offensive coordinator. That opened up a spot for Jim Bridge, a former assistant at N.C. State and Purdue, to inherit Roper’s job directing the special teams and the tight ends. NFL veteran Marcus Johnson, who played for Cut at Ole Miss, moved from a non-coaching role on the staff to replace Latina as the offensive line coach. The Duke coach also brought in Ben Albert from Boston College to direct the defensive line. The four new coaches, even if two of them are Duke veterans in new jobs, all face daunting tasks this season. Take Johnson. He arrives at a time when an accumulation of injuries has left one of Duke’s most solid positions in flux. Understand that under Latina, Duke’s offensive line performed at a very high level year after year, ranking among the nation’s leaders in pass protection and paving the way for three of the most impressive Duke rushing seasons in almost half a century. Every year, Latina would have to replace a couple of starters up front, but he always had talented, veteran replacements ready to step in. That’s how it worked a year ago, when All-American guard Laken Tomlinson and three-year starting tackle Takoby Cofield graduated, leaving two big holes in the line. But all-star center Matt Skura and starters Lucas Patrick and Casey Blaser were back to team with well-prepared redshirt junior Tanner Stone and redshirt sophomore Gabe Brandner to form another formidable offensive line.


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JON GARDINER

Junior tackle Mike Ramsay (99) one of several talented interior linemen returning to the defensive front The system seemed to be in place to keep rolling after 2015. Skura and Patrick were graduating, but returning starters Stone, Blaser and Brandner were back to anchor the 2016 line, while redshirt junior Austin Davis and redshirt sophomore Jake Sanders seemed to be in line to step into starting roles. But Sanders suffered a career-ending injury taking him out Thomas of the picture. So did Kameron Sirk Schroeder, a young tackle with great promise. In addition, the veteran Stone underwent back surgery in the offseason, leaving his status for this season in some doubt. For the first time in years, the offensive line picture is cloudy. “We’re low on numbers in the offensive line right now,” Cutcliffe said. “That’s been a huge challenge. We’ve had strong leadership there, really strong, and I want to see Casey Blaser take a bigger role. I think Gabe Brandner who is a junior can be that guy in a big way. “But it’s time to see Sterling Korona or Austin Davis, Zach Harmon, Christian Harris — all these guys have abilities and they have to understand that they are now the guys. They now have the rest of the team on their shoulders, and that is the mentality the offensive line has to have.” Cutcliffe has four offensive line prospects arriving this fall. Together, they are the highest-rated offensive line group he has recruited at Duke. But never before has he played a true freshman on the offensive line, something that he says might happen this year.

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Clearly, Johnson has a lot of work to do, rebuilding the offensive line. And that creates issues for Roper as the offensive coordinator. His problems are exacerbated by the injury to fifth-year senior quarterback Thomas Sirk, who tore his left Achilles tendon in a winter workout. Sirk was sidelined a year when he tore his right Achilles tendon in the spring of 2013. Fortunately, Sirk appears to be making a surprisingly rapid recovery. Cutcliffe recently told ESPN that Sirk might be ready for opening day. “He’s done amazingly well. He’s still well ahead, way beyond what he was the last time.” However, the Duke coach warned that Sirk still has a long way to go to get ready. And, he pointed out, a large part of Sirk’s game is his running ability. Will that be impacted by the injury? Roper has other options at quarterback. Redshirt junior Parker Boehme started one game and saw extensive action as Sirk’s backup last season. Redshirt freshmen Quentin Harris and Daniel Jones are promising prospects. But none of the three have Sirk’s experience, or his proven level of performance. A year ago, Sirk recorded the third-best total offensive season in Duke history. In his 12 starts, he led Duke to eight wins (it should have been nine, except for an admitted officiating error in the Miami game). With Sirk at the controls, the Duke offense averaged 445.9 yards a game, the fourth highest total in Duke history, and 33.1 points a game, the second-highest total in history. The uncertainty at quarterback is further aggravated by the need to rebuild a receiving corps that graduated the team’s top wide receiver and top two tight ends and saw two more talented wide receivers dismissed from the team late in the season. Of course, plenty of talent remains. Duke appears well-stocked at running back. It’s possible that Sirk will return to his 2015 form or that Boehme or one of the young quarterbacks will shine. The offensive line certainly has the potential to be as good as it’s been over the last four years.


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Still, there are a lot of questions on offense. Just like Bridge will face a couple of big question marks on special teams as Duke tries to replace placekicker Ross Martin and punter Will Monday, a pair of four-year starters and two of the most effective kickers in school history. Then there is the task facing Albert. A year ago, he oversaw the defensive line of the nation’s No. 1 ranked defense at BC. Now he takes over a Duke defensive front that has struggled to excel at an ACC level. He inherits a deep group of promising young defensive tackles, but very few defensive ends with any kind of track record. “Honestly, I’ve really enjoyed watching Coach Albert work with the defensive line,” Cutcliffe said. “I think we’re the most talented we’ve been, particularly inside. I think the biggest change for us is the outside. There we’ve got some pretty big battles going on with a number of people.” If Albert can fashion a serviceable defensive front — especially one that can do a better job of pressuring opposing quarterbacks — the Duke defense could take off. The secondary is deep and talented, even after the graduation of All-American safety Jeremy Cash. So Duke heads into the summer with a lot of question marks. “That is kind of the theme,” Cutcliffe said. “But, all in all, I’m very pleased. We have a very skilled, athletic football team.” It will need to be to take on a schedule that will be as difficult as any Duke has played since 2012 (when the Devils faced three teams that finished in the AP top 10). Duke has replaced lightweight Tulane with Notre Dame out of the conference and traded Boston College (winless in the ACC a year ago) for Louisville, expected to be a preseason top 25 team. Throw in the fact that three of Duke’s ACC Coastal Division foes changed coaches in the offseason (Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech) and the schedule offers its own measure of uncertainty. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Duke can’t succeed at the same — or even a higher — level in 2016 as it has in the past four years. It just means Duke fans need to wait and let all the uncertainties play out.

Compliance

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The Duke Compliance Office is responsible for education and enforcement of NCAA rules. NCAA rules are vast and complex, and we hope you read the information below as an introduction to a few of the issues that could arise as you root for the Blue Devils. If you have any questions about NCAA rules, please contact the Compliance Office at 919613-6214. We truly appreciate your continued support of Duke University and Duke Athletics. Always remember to ask before you act. Question: Benjamin Booster owns a company that annually provides summer internships to college students. A Duke women’s soccer player applied for this summer’s internship, and Benjamin recognized her name among the list of finalists. Is it permissible for him to offer her the internship? Answer: Yes, provided the student-athlete is paid the going rate for work she actually performs. Additionally, to avoid providing her with impermissible extra benefits, the company must treat the student-athlete in the same manner as it does all other summer interns (e.g., provision of meals, transportation, etc.).

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By Brad Amersbach

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uke University’s Recreation and Physical Education department provides students on campus with an opportunity to participate in a variety of sport clubs each semester, with an assortment of 37 teams in action during the 2015-16 academic year. Comprised of approximately 1,300 students, the Sport Clubs program is the second largest student group on campus and encourages individuals to develop relationships with other students, while also establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and developing transferable life skills. As Duke Sport Clubs continue to thrive, members of the Recreation and Physical Education department recently met with Jim and Audrey Gorter to discuss the program’s successes from this past season, as well as the future vision of the program.

The Gorter family established an endowment 28 years ago in memory of former sport clubs and ice hockey president Kevin Gorter, who tragically passed away in a car accident shortly after his graduation from Duke in 1987. Kevin’s parents, who recognized the benefits club sports afforded students at Duke, remain staunch supporters of the program and annually provide generous donations in honor of Kevin. Motivated by a conversation Kevin once had with his father, the gift provided by the Gorter family offers clubs additional funding to help cover costs beyond the daily expenses incurred by each organization. 

During his playing career, Kevin helped guide Duke’s club ice hockey team to the national tournament. The excitement of punching a ticket to the national competition was overshadowed only by the question of where the funding would come from to make the trip a reality. Jim Gorter, in an effort to alleviate the stress and additional burden of Kevin’s team trying to find the necessary funding, volunteered to donate money to the men’s hockey program. With this in mind, the Gorter family has continued to provide a substantial gift to club teams at Duke for postseason travel. 

In addition to the Gorter family endowment, Duke Sport Clubs have continually increased their fundraising efforts over the years. A majority of clubs participated in a letter-writing campaign this past academic year that garnered $250,000 from over 300 donors. Successful fundraising has allowed the clubs to decrease the dues students pay out of pocket. This funding also creates opportunities for students to gain the myriad benefits afforded individuals who participate in club sports, while keeping the initial cost of participation relatively low. As Mike Forbes, Director of Sport Clubs and Risk Management at Duke states, providing an affordable outlet for Duke students to participate in healthy activities is paramount in their personal development. 

“There’s always the benefit of relaxation release,” Forbes said. “Duke students are under enormous pressure to be the best at everything they do, especially academically. They have high expectations placed on them by their parents, their peers, their counselors, their neighbors. We offer a place where they can release that tension through sports. Ninety percent of our participants were athletes in high school, so they are looking for an outlet to continue that passion.” 


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he tension release through competition can also take students to new and interesting venues. One of the most unique opportunities provided by Duke Sport Clubs is the chance for students to participate in a “dream trip” experience, which recently allowed 12 teams to compete at a variety of locations, including five international sites. Seventeen members of the running club traveled to Rome, Italy, while the martial arts club made a trip to Seoul, South Korea. The rugby and men’s soccer programs traveled to the Bahamas and Trinidad, respectively, and the field hockey club rounded out the international competitions by participating in contests held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In addition to the five international locations, seven other club programs — ski and snowboard, men’s volleyball, men’s rowing, men’s ultimate frisbee, women’s ultimate frisbee, women’s lacrosse and outing — hit the road for various intra-continental competitions across the United States, including Telluride, Colo., Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Fla., Morgan Hill, Calif., Santa Barbara, Calif., and Bend, Ore.

Involvement in these particular sport clubs allow students to explore and become immersed in new cultures not only across the country, but also throughout the world. 

“The men’s soccer team in Trinidad and Tobago completed clinics,” Forbes said. “Previously, the baseball team has gone to the Dominican Republic and built dugouts for the local baseball teams. We try to have the students participate in civic engagement when it is possible.”

 The personal development of those involved in sport clubs goes well beyond civic engagement opportunities, however. The clubs on campus are almost solely run by students, with the individuals on the teams developing the schedules, hiring the coaches, determining practice times and running the day-to-day operations of each team. Such responsibilities help students learn additional, transferable life skills that are applicable for future occupational endeavors. 

“What we offer on top of (tension release) are leadership opportunities,” Forbes said. “I have a young lady this year who was in charge of the Ski Club. They had a $175,000 budget, so she was running a small organization with 75 kids. It gives them an opportunity to be more than just students. They can be leaders and business people. We look at it as a living laboratory to be leaders.” 

In addition to success on the playing surface, students who participate in club sports on campus are equally proficient on the academic side. At the conclusion of the fall semester, all 37 teams owned a GPA of 3.29 or higher, with the average sitting at 3.51. The Dancing Devils led all teams with a GPA of 3.70.



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port clubs at Duke also are dedicated to creating a safe competition environment for participants, as evidenced by the recent addition of concussion testing. During the 2015-16 academic year, ten teams completed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT), which provided additional information to assist in identifying and correctly diagnosing concussions if such an event were to occur in competition.

 “Concussion testing is a hot topic right now, from a safety and risk management point of view,” Forbes said. “If you have a high impact sport, you need to do it. (The testing) educates our coaches to be aware that if there is a head injury, to treat it seriously. The education of coaches teaches them to treat every injury seriously because they can have repercussions.”

 The future looks bright for club sports at Duke. John Syme, a rising senior studying electrical engineering and a current member of the club men’s rowing team, was recently elected Sport Clubs president for the 2016-17 academic year. Applying the vision of cohesion, competitiveness and cash (through fundraising), Syme hopes the sport clubs program will continue to provide students with a wide range of activities to choose from, developing a community in the process.

 “It’s an opportunity for students to push their comfort zone and then work in a team environment that’s competitive and fosters an interesting sense of community where everyone is working together,” Syme said. “(Sport clubs) bring a bunch of different people across campus together, which is one of my favorite things. It’s a great time to mix with people who aren’t in the same fraternity, sorority or major. You all work together for a common goal of sport, while having a good time doing it.” 

 With Syme preparing to take the reins of Duke Sport Clubs, he hopes his three areas of focus can help promote its mission.

“There are a number of different organizations, so it would be nice to have these organizations, instead of being silos, mingling and forming one cohesive unit,” Syme said. “On the competitive side, I see our sport clubs repeating a lot of the success we had this past year. We want clubs to take more onus for their funding and have the ability to reach out to alumni networks, parents and other supporters and be able to fund the activities they want to do, as well.”

 The success of sport clubs on Duke’s campus is undeniable, and with the continued support of the Gorter family, the vision of Syme, and the invested interest of students on campus, the benefits of the programs will continue for years to come. Photos provided by Duke University Athletics

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> The Final Round

Standing up to fight state-sanctioned discrimination By Lauren Miranda As a masculine-presenting female athlete, I’ve run into my fair share of bathroom altercations on the road. I travel around the country competing with my rowing team, and am no stranger to unsolicited comments, such as: “You understand this is the women’s restroom, right?” “Are you SURE you’re on the women’s team?” I’ve heard these and many other offensive comments at restaurants, rest stops and hotels. My teammates were always furious and apologetic about the harassment. But I’d calm them down by expressing my excitement to get back home to Duke where we knew I was accepted and respected. I felt safe in Durham, North Carolina. On March 23, in the space of 12 hours, that feeling of safety was gone. When the North Carolina government introduced, passed and complied with House Bill 2 the trust in my home state was destroyed. My heart sank for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and especially the transgender community in light of the state-sanctioned discrimination that was imposed on them. I don’t think legislators understand the reality of what it’s like for people like me who are non-conforming. Or worse, maybe they do and choose to ignore it. Can you imagine being verbally harassed or physically assaulted simply for being yourself? By adopting this bill, North Carolina legislators are essentially telling everyone in the LGBT community (and anyone perceived to belong to the community) that discrimination is the law of the land. Thinking back on the trouble I’ve faced traveling, the implications for LGBT athletes, fans and coaches traveling to the ACC’s home state is grim, unfair and not representative of the state I’ve grown to love. That bothers me. I get a bit angrier every day this legislation still exists and is forced upon the fantastic people that live, visit, train and play in North Carolina. I’m a huge advocate for the pursuit of athletics to be open to everyone. Rowing has made me a better person. I’ve learned all types of lessons through sports that have fundamentally influenced who I am. Additionally, I’ve also learned that the athletic community has a strong set of values that brings a diverse group of people together. So, I knew I had to defend our values. However, I’m a full-time student finishing up my degree at Duke. And I’m a captain of a Division I athletic team, dedicating most of my time to training, travel, meetings and recovery. Having both the time and means to fight against an entire state government seemed impossible. Fortunately, I knew where to turn for support and to create momen-

34

tum. I intern at Athlete Ally, an organization whose sole mission is to end homophobia and transphobia in sports. Together, we reached out to other student-athletes and created a plan to attack this enormous issue. Representatives from the ACC’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and I drafted a letter reflecting the concerns of student-athletes. We want to publicly demonstrate our conference’s commitment to values of inclusion and equality. This letter was signed by more than half of the member schools’ representatives and generated a lot of discussion about how the ACC can be a more inclusive conference. Many of these athletes, like myself, believe that the ACC can and should take a stance against state-sanctioned discrimination. Many of these inspiring and brave student-athletes attended the ACC’s annual spring meetings in Florida and fought to create an inclusive space in sports for all. They facilitated conversations that may not have happened if the SAAC representatives didn’t show their interest. They presented measures the ACC could adopt that would demonstrably show the ACC’s commitment to preserving and advocating for all of its student-athletes, coaches and fans. The ACC has the power to protect my teammates and opponents, my staff and the fans that cheer us on; the same power that North Carolina has abused. It’s time governing bodies of sport put their feet down when state-sanctioned discrimination pollutes the very core of what makes athletics so great: inclusion and equality for all. A level playing field. Editor’s note: Lauren Miranda, a senior captain on the Duke rowing team, wrote this column as her Blue Devils were preparing for postseason competition. The Duke rowers earned their first-ever NCAA Championships bid this season and took 17th place overall at nationals, held May 27-29 in California. Miranda was a member of Duke’s 2V8 boat, which won its NCAA C Final and took 13th place. At its spring meetings, the ACC adopted a policy similar to the NCAA’s with regard to host cities of championship events being required to provide the league a commitment to “safe an inclusive environments.” The ACC said that no championships currently scheduled for North Carolina would be moved as a result of HB2, but that future events could be kept out of the state. “Discrimination in any form has no place in higher education and college athletics, and the safe and respectful treatment of all student-athletes, coaches and fans, regardless of gender, will continue to be a priority,” the ACC declared in an official statement.


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