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Duncan 7th in shot put for 5th All-America award

Duncan exceeded her previous personal record by over two feet. (File photo by Tom Leonard '78)

GREENCASTLE, Ind. -- A day after she was the national runner-up in the weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, Bates senior Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan (Topsham, Maine) finished seventh in the shot put on Saturday to become a five-time NCAA All-American.

It is Duncan's first All-America award in the shot put; she owns three in the indoor weight throw and one in the outdoor hammer throw.

Duncan is now tied with former teammate Izzy Alexander '09 for the second most All-America honors by a Bates woman, trailing only 16-time All-American Keelin Godsey '06.

Duncan unleashed her best shot put of the day, 45-05.75 (13.86 meters), on her second attempt during preliminary flights, less than three inches shy of the personal best she recorded earlier this season. Duncan's final throw during finals sailed 13.39 meters, her second best attempt of the day but not enough to move farther up from seventh place.

The 10 team points Duncan scored for Bates put the team in a six-way tie (with Wilmington, Simpson, University of St. Thomas, New Jersey City University and Bethel (Minn.) University) for 19th place out of 61 scoring teams.


Duncan had her finest day in an already highlight-rich career on Friday, notching a pair of personal records en route to taking second place in the women's weight throw with a top heave of 60-0.50, or 18.30 meters.

Duncan's first throw of the day soared 58 feet and one quarter-inch, the best of her career by nearly six inches. That effort would ultimately prove to be good enough to place her fifth overall on its own (which would match her No. 5 seeding out of 16 competitors in the event), and it was the best in her flight.

"To do that on my first throw, that was the right sign for me," said Duncan. "It told me that it was going to be a good day, no matter what."

But on Duncan's sixth throw of the day, her third and final effort in the finals, Duncan heaved the weight past the 60-foot mark for the first time in her career, at 60-05.00, or 2 feet and 5 inches beyond her personal best before the day began. The final weight throw of her career (the weight throw is strictly an indoor event) put Duncan second only to the champion, Holly Ozanich of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and 1 1/2 inches past the best effort of third-place finisher Kristin Constantine of the University of Chicago.

Finally, Duncan had joined Keelin Godsey '06 in the 60-foot club at Bates, "which I take a lot of pride in," she said. Finally, her grandfather, Lawrence Duncan Jr., later pointed out in during her phone call home, she had thrown beyond the length of the family's house in Topsham.

"The throwers (at Bates) have a saying: 'Last one, best one,'" said Duncan. "Today as I walked out into the circle for the last one, I said out loud but to myself, 'Last one, best one, senior year.' I put everything that I had been doing in practice behind me and threw my heart out."

It is the highest NCAA finish yet for Duncan.

On Thursday, the day before the NCAA Championship meet began, Duncan was honored as the New England Women's Field Athlete of the Year, as the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association unveiled its 2010 Division III Region Award Winners for Indoor Track & Field.