The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 24th

SportsSaturday - Victor Dashes to Forefront of UNC Runners

The word dash is associated more with the sprints of track and field than the courses of cross country. But at North Carolina, things are different.

Sophomore Dash Victor has emerged as one of the men's cross country team's top runners this season.

He opened the season with a sixth-place finish at the Wake Forest Invitational and placed ninth in his next race at William & Mary.

Although Victor came up short at the UNC Challenge on Sept. 30 and did not finish in the top 10, he is still one of two UNC runners to have two top-10 finishes.

"I wasn't focused," Victor said after the event. "I didn't run a good race."

Just a year ago, Victor would have been happy with a finish anywhere near the top 10.

Until this fall, Victor was a middle distance runner. He concentrated on the 800-meter race and the mile last track and field season, but has turned into a top contender for the men's cross country team.

"I am constantly trying new things," Victor said. "I've actually grown to like cross country."

Victor increases his personal distance expectations every year. He ran the 400 and 800 meters in high school. Now Victor runs 10 times that distance in his 8-kilometer races.

Victor moved up to the mile for track and field competition after starting his UNC career in the 800. Now he focuses on cross country as something more than just a way to stay in shape.

"Once you start to excel at it, you start to like it," Victor said. "Now it's a completely different season, and I focus just on cross country. I don't even think about track yet."

Victor still calls track his favorite season despite his current focus on cross country.

"Cross country is hard," Victor said. "It's a long race. You have to focus a lot longer than you do in track."

Victor said he never thought he would be a good cross country runner. Coach Michael Whittlesey thought differently.

"I think he might be surprising himself," Whittlesey said. "But he's doing what I thought he would be capable of at this point, both mentally and physically. He does have a lot of sprint type of speed, but he's got a lot of strength base behind it."

With a name like Dash, it's hard not to wonder if Victor's parents matched Whittlesey's confidence in their son to ending up as a track star.

But in fact, Victor's dad played college football and encouraged his son in that sport.

"No one believes that I ever played football," said Victor, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 138 pounds. "After sophomore year, though, I realized my body is more suited for running."

And so is his name.



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