Tar Heels impress at Gene Anderson Invitational
In a busy weekend for the North Carolina track team, which split up for three meets around the country, coach Harlis Meaders stayed in Chapel Hill Saturday to lead the Tar Heels to record a couple of impressive finishes in the indoor Gene Anderson Invitational.
The Tar Heels played host to 16 other schools for the event in the Eddie Smith Field House.
Despite about half of the team being on the road, UNC’s strength was emphasized by dominant performances in men’s and women’s shot put as well as solid showings in distance runs for both teams.
Redshirt senior Chris DiLorenzo and sophomore A.J. Hicks easily grabbed first and second places, respectively, in shot put. Hicks also placed first in the men’s weight throw.
“Sarah Howard in shot put had a collegiate best. Chris DiLorenzo did really good in the men’s shot put,” Meaders said. “So those two were probably the highlights from the field events.”
Howard, a freshman, placed first in women’s shot put by topping two throwers from Maryland with her personal collegiate-best throw of 51 feet.
Distance runners sophomore Sami Jorgensen and freshman Macon Gambill also performed well. Jorgensen edged two Maryland runners for first place in the women’s 3,000-meter run, and Gambill placed second in his first collegiate mile run.
Meaders praised sprinter Romar Morris on his debut with the team.
“Romar finished second overall (in the 60-meter dash) so I thought that was a pretty good competitive effort for his first meet of the year,” Meaders said. “We’re hoping he’s going to continue to run better as the season progresses.”
Morris, who was seen returning kickoffs and playing tailback for the UNC football team in the fall, is new to the collegiate track scene after winning back-to-back North Carolina state titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in high school.
“Romar is a really pleasant guy and a real hard worker,” Meaders said. “I think he’s going to be a tremendous asset. And I think it’s good for him to come over and sort of get a look at a different kind of speed.”
This was just Meaders’ third track meet since he returned to UNC, his alma mater, to be the new head coach of the track team.
Since he’s taken the reins of the program, Meaders has been focused on finding consistency.
“We’ve been a little bit inconsistent,” Meaders said. “We’ve had a great meet, then come back to have an average meet. And as we get a couple more meets under our belts, that will work itself out.
“I think we’ll be a really competitive team for both men and women.”
As the season progresses, there is no shortage of praise for Meaders and his leadership of the program.
“I love him. He’s amazing,” Jorgensen said. “I think the change is really, really good for our program.
“We’ve got some fire going this year.”
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