Farber posts new personal best en route to an All-Region performance

For North Carolina sophomore Lianne Farber, the 2012 cross country season has been one full of accomplishments.

After earning the first win of her collegiate career at the adidas XC Challenge in September, she has since recorded personal bests in both the 5K and 6K events.

And despite a sub-par performance at the ACC Championships two weeks ago, Farber realized her goal of the season at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Charlotte last Friday.

Her individual fifth-place finish earned her All-Region honors and the opportunity to compete at the NCAA National Championships.

“Obviously we’re thrilled with Lianne’s finish today,” coach Mark VanAlstyne said. “She’s worked very hard to get to this point. To bounce back from the adversity of a poor finish at ACCs and qualify for her first finals in cross country I thought was huge.

“She did her race plan perfectly and has a fifth-place finish and nationals berth to show for it.”

Farber’s time of 20:31.6 led the women’s team, which was shorthanded without top runners Kylie McCoy and Emma Norman, to a fifth-place finish in a field of 37 teams.

After placing a disappointing sixth out of 11 at the ACC Championships, the men’s team continued to struggle by failing to produce any runners in the top 35, finishing the 10k event in 11th place out of 34 teams.

Sophomore Scott Morgan led the men with a time of 31:05.3.

“We weren’t happy with the men’s performance. They came in certainly with aspirations to finish higher than 11th. And outside of one person, Scott Morgan, who had maybe his best race of the year, I think everyone else just felt like they were not on today,” VanAlstyne said. “Our goal is much higher than 11th in the Southeast Region. We want to be the team vying for a spot at nationals and ultimately achieving that.

“Across the board the guys were unhappy. But we know that we’re a better team and just have to come back, train hard and prepare for the next opportunity we get.”

While the season is over for most Tar Heel runners, Farber will begin to prepare for the National Championships.

VanAlstyne, however, said he believes that there is not much work that needs to be done before Farber heads to Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 17.

“We’re going to sit down in the next day or two and analyze everyone that’s in the race and try to come up with a plan for her to be successful,” VanAlstyne said. “But she just needs to continue to be confident. She’s already done all the work needed to be an All-American. She just needs to go out, not feel any pressure and let the performance happen.”

Farber said she won’t approach her first National Championship berth any differently from other races.

“I’m really excited because it’s always been a goal of mine to compete at the national championships,” Farber said. “But I think I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing, just treat it like another race and not psych myself out too much.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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