A fourth-place finish by freshman Shalane Flanagan in 20 minutes, 42 seconds led North Carolina's women's cross country team to a 12th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships in Iowa.
The finish placed the Tar Heels above all its preseason predictions.
UNC placed sixth last year, but lost several seniors from that squad.
The season began with more than 300 teams in the running for a chance to participate in the NCAA Championships, a number that dwindled to 31 after the Southeast Regionals on Nov. 11.
UNC track and field coach Dennis Craddock said it was satisfactory for the team to make it past regionals, but to make it to the No. 12 spot in the nation was beyond expectations.
"Despite a wind chill of minus-17 degrees and 15-20 mph winds in Iowa, they kept going," Craddock said. "The team did a great job this season, and we're still rebuilding. With two freshmen in our top five, next year looks even better."
Flanagan's fourth-place finish makes her the top female freshman in the country and a member of the All-America team.
Coming in second for the Tar Heels and 73rd overall was junior Kim Timberlake with a time of 21:46.0.
Other North Carolina finishers were Victoria Jackson (21:58.3) in 99th place, Beth George (22:08.2) in 101st, Rebecca Walker (22:30.5) in 162nd, Bobbie Munson (24:19.9) in 244th and Jennie Sucher (24:28.5) in 246th.