Who stood out?
Ilse was the top finisher for the women’s team on Friday. Last year, Ilse competed in the NCAA Southeast Regional and came in 36th place with a time of 21:32. On Friday, she had a great race and moved up 24 spots from last year’s regional, finishing in 12th place with a time of 20:37.5.
“Morgan Ilse is going to be a star over the course of the next 18 months or so, and we’re hopeful that she can get an individual at large berth to nationals,” head coach Mark VanAlstyne said. “Regardless, I think she’s elevated things to a new level, and she’s just going to get better and better this track season.”
Jeremy Brown had the best time for the men on Friday. The sophomore placed 53rd with a new personal best time of 30:39.2. Brown’s previous personal best for the ten-kilometer race was 32:13 at the 2016 NCAA Southeast Regional. On Friday, he beat this time over a minute and a half.
Why does it matter?
The race consisted of 41 women's teams and 39 men's teams, and the top two on each side receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next week.
Neither Tar Heel came close to falling in that category, and VanAlstyne does not think this Friday’s performance will be enough to get them to the NCAA Championships.
“We were always on the outside kind of looking in for that,” VanAlstyne said. “I was pleased with our efforts, but not pleased with our team placements. We desire, and frankly expect, to be higher than we were.”
The Tar Heels will have to await their fate a little longer, as the NCAA Cross Country Selection Show will be held Saturday at 3 p.m.
When do they play next?
If the selection show brings good news, North Carolina will travel to Louisville, Ky., next to compete in 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 18.
If not, the 2017 cross country season will come to a close for North Carolina.