Decorated redshirt senior Lianne Farber and senior Annie LeHardy both qualified for the championships, competing in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter races respectfully.
Farber, who could not compete in the outdoor track season last year due to injury, is peaking at the right time: she set her career best in the 1,500 meter and 5,000 meter in early May.
“It’s exciting,” Farber said. “I was injured last year, so I’ve just kept working hard and try not to get overwhelmed.”
The fourth woman to qualify for UNC is Xenia Rahn, who went into the preliminaries already qualified for Oregon because of her national top-three ranking in her event, the heptathlon.
Sophomore Ceo Ways, juniors RJ Alowonle, redshirt junior Javonte Lipsey and freshman Kenny Selmon make up the men’s 4x400 relay that will be heading to Oregon, but each member also qualified for an individual event.
Ways became one of the big stories at the preliminaries by qualifying for the men’s 200-meter and 400-meter races, and propelling UNC from fifth place to third place while running as the anchor in the 4x400.
“We practiced and competed hard all year. I wasn’t going to let my team down,” Ways said.
Ways was projected to qualify in the 200, but the 400 was a bit of a question mark going into the preliminaries.
“I hadn’t been great in the 400 this year, but I trained hard and knew my capabilities.”
That training paid off, as Ways ran a personal best time of 45.63 seconds to win his heat, which automatically qualified him for the championships in Eugene.
The other three legs of the 4x400, Alowonle, Lipsey and Selmon, will also be competing in men’s 400-meter hurdles.
Upon realizing a trio of Tar Heel hurdlers would be advancing to the championships, the PA announcer in Jacksonville coined North Carolina “Hurdle U.”
With the championships just around the corner, Meaders and the athletes understand the quick adjustment that must be made in order to have success in Oregon.
“We will leave for Oregon Sunday and give our bodies around two days to adjust to that time zone and climate,” Meaders said Monday.
Everyone involved with the UNC program feels good going into this home stretch, especially Ways, who expressed his confidence Sunday after the preliminaries.
“We deserve to be there,” he said. “We will practice, be consistent and compete the best we can, like we have all year.”