Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:27:10 -0400
It was a day of record timing for North Carolina’s cross country team.
In UNC’s final race before the ACC Championships on Oct. 27, sophomores Lianne Farber and Ryan Walling led the men’s and women’s teams to top-30 finishes at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday.
Both runners ran personal best times in an event filled with the nation’s top runners and collegiate teams.
“It was an amazing field,” coach Mark VanAlstyne said. “There were 21 of the top 30 teams in the country, as well as another 30 or so schools who thought they should be ranked. So it was an awesome competition.”
Both Farber and Walling’s personal bests led them to top-50 finishes in fields of more than 300 runners.
“I feel pretty good about my performance Friday,” Walling said. “It exceeded all individual expectations I had for myself.”
Walling, who completed the 8K course in 24:00, placed 44th and shattered his previous personal-best time by nearly a minute.
He paced the men to a 29th-place finish out of 45 teams.
“I wish we had been able to finish a little higher, but I think we did well overall as a team,” Walling said. “I think some of the guys were a little disappointed with how they ran, but overall our performance is encouraging, and it was a big step in getting ready for the ACC Championships.”
On the women’s side, all six UNC runners recorded personal bests in the 6K.
Farber’s time of 20:05 led the women to a 28th-place finish out of 48 teams.
“I feel really good about how I ran Friday,” Farber said. “It was a lot faster than I expected, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
With less than two weeks left until the ACC Championships at Virginia Tech, the team is focused on building off this race and continuing to improve.
“If we can take what we did in Wisconsin this weekend and work hard, I think we’re going to do really well,” Farber said.
VanAlstyne was impressed with how Farber hung tough with the nation’s elite.
Although neither team was able to break into the top 20, they took many positives away from the meet.
“As far as our team performance goes, we had some bright spots,” VanAlstyne said. “Our team is beginning to put different pieces of the puzzle together. We need another performance like this in Blacksburg.”
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