The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 3rd

Throwers, Jumpers Perform Well at Invitational

But not all of North Carolina's campus was desolate. For some, life went on as usual.

While most students were home with their families for Easter weekend, the North Carolina track and field teams were at work, competing in Saturday's Tar Heel Invitational, their final meet before the ACC Championships.

In front of a sparse crowd and under a brutal April sun, the North Carolina men's and women's teams grabbed 13 first-place finishes, set two new school records and six personal records and turned in a number of NCAA provisional qualifying performances.

Decathlete Mike Cvelbar competed in three events and winning the javelin. Joseph Handy placed first in the long jump.

But the men's team was carried on the shoulders of its throwers. Sal Gigante won the hammer throw with a toss of 61.84 meters, breaking his old school record and qualifying him for NCAAs.

Ian Douglas was just as impressive. Douglas won both the shot put and discus for the Tar Heels. He said he's entering ACCs looking for a victory in the shot put and second or third in the discus.

"I was happy with what I did," Douglas said. "I got my rhythm back today. I haven't been throwing quite as good as I've wanted, but I'm just starting to get things turned around now."

The UNC women relied on the same formula they used for most of the year: throwing, jumping and sprinting. North Carolina had to since it rested much of its distance squad.

Jill Pedretti led the women with a third-place finish in the javelin and a victory in the discus. Her mark of 54-0 1/4 meters in the discus is likely to put her among the top five in the nation, said UNC assistant coach Brian Blutreich.

"As a whole, I think (the throwers) did pretty good," Blutreich said. "It was a good meet heading into ACCs. We did some good things today. It was nice to have some personal records, but not really throw well."

Like Pedretti, pole-vaulters Suzanne Fish and Stefani Dixon also set personal records. Both jumped 3.67 meters, sharing a new UNC record. Fish was awarded the victory after a jump-off.

"I'm happy with it," she said. "It's all coming together at last. So hopefully next week at ACCs when I really need it, I'll be able to pull it out."

And once again, the women sprinters provided the horsepower for the Tar Heels. Edi Ntuen, Lutisha Shittu, Crystal Cox and freshman Tiffany Flomo all placed first in their respective events.

But even with sub-par performances, many UNC athletes came out on top.

Although senior Joy Ganes won the high jump with a leap of 5-9 1/4, she still wasn't satisfied with her victory.

Ganes said she still has technical problems to work out before she attempts to win her seventh ACC high jumping title next weekend.

"I jumped very badly," Ganes said. "I was looking to qualify for nationals today. But I think the jumpers are doing fine -- great, actually. I think jumping is a big strong point here. As far as ACCs we're looking good in all of them: long jump, triple jump and the high jump."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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