But the most drastic change in the last few years for North Carolina freshman Carol Henry was switching from sprinting in track to running long distances in cross country.
Henry will get to show off her cross country running to the hometown crowd at the UNC Challenge on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Finley Golf Course.
Now, as she is running seven miles on a regular day, she has evolved into a cross country runner.
Henry acquired most of her cross country fame in her hometown of Parry Sound, Canada. She was the Canadian cross country champion last year and competed in the World Junior National Championships in 2000, finishing 15th.
Last week Henry ran a 17:03 at the Great American Cross Country Festival and earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors.
"I like cross country better because there is more of a team," Henry said. "Track is just individual."
Her personal record in the 400 meters is 58 seconds, and she has a 1:01 personal best in the 300 hurdles.
"There is a large difference in her running style with her being a sprinter," UNC coach Michael Whittlesey said. "For the most part she looks very efficient when she is running. Her form frustrates the competition when they look over at her and see how easy it comes to her."
In addition, she will run for North Carolina's track team. Although nothing is set in stone yet, Henry said she thinks she'll run either the 1,600-meters race or the 5,000 instead of the 400 for North Carolina's track squad in the winter and the spring.
This weekend will serve as a warmup for the season for the No. 7 Tar Heels as they enter the UNC Challenge in preparation for a tough ACC field that includes No. 3 N.C. State.
Henry runs a close second this year to UNC sophomore Shalane Flanagan, who finished first in the conference last year.
"Our goal is to win the conference. There is no reason why Carol and Shalane should not finish one and two in the ACC," Whittlesey said.
With the young duo slated to anchor the squad for the next three years, Whittlesey has big plans for the future.
"It is definitely one of our goals to try to win nationals," Whittlesey said.
Before there is any talk of national championships, though, Henry still has adjustments to make.
"It is going to be a learning experience for all of us," Whittlesey said. "She just does not have as much experience in this type of competition."
Although, the difference between Canada and North Carolina's climates seems like it would cause trouble, Henry said it wasn't difficult to adjust.
"I love the heat, but the humidity was a big change for me," she said.
Henry keeps her colder country in her heart -- she doesn't hesitate to say that she likes hockey better than football, pulling fervently for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Getting used to the fact that hockey is not that popular here might cause Henry more trouble than changing her running style.
"Whether a new runner comes from out of state, out of country, or overseas, there is an adjustment," Whittlesey said. "This year she is doing a tremendous job."
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