Who stood out?
UNC had two runners ear All-ACC honors in Ilse and Carroll. Ilse broke her previous personal record with a time of 20:31.7 in the 6k. Ilse has consistently been a top performer for the Tar Heels this season, finishing first for the side in three consecutive meets.
Carroll finished at 23:49.7 over 8k, also better than his previous personal record of 24:17. Carroll needed to run a strong race and did — which was a huge reason UNC finished sixth. It was the first time this season Carroll finished in first for the Tar Heels.
When was it decided?
Cross country is a race decided at the finish line, but getting a quick start helped Anna Rohrer of Notre Dame who won the women’s 6k after leading the field at every split. The men’s side was a little different, Justyn Knight, who won the men’s 8k for Syracuse, was second at three of the four splits, but made a comeback in the last stretch to get to the top.
UNC’s men’s team started to come back to catch Florida State, but ran out of room to catch up, said Coach Mark Vanalstyne. The Tar Heels late push boosted individual performance, which included several personal records.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels are going into the final part of their season, where they will compete in only three more meets. In order to compete in all three, UNC will need to qualify for the NCAA meet by competing well at the NCAA Southeast regional, although their regular season finishes will be taken into account for qualification as well.
Running well at the end of the season is what matters most in cross country, and is something the team has been focusing on, Vanalstyne said. With a good performance today, the Tar Heels are still looking to improve in their next races to finish the season with continued improvement.
Vanalstyne said he hoped the men’s side would finish in the top five, but they finished just outside that goal. He added that he was excited for the longer, 10k course the Tar Heels will encounter in the NCAA regional meet, but was excited for their strong finish today.
Where do they run next?
Both teams will race at the Three Stripe Invitational In in Cary on Nov. 5.