The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 24th

UNC track teams split for weekend meets

Women erase competition at home

Saturday’s separate meets for North Carolina’s men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams were all about rewriting the record book.

At the Navy Wesley Brown Invitational in Annapolis, Md., UNC senior Parker Smith set a field house record in the pole vault with 17-0 3/4 feet, crushing the record set in 2008 by more than three inches.

The women dominated Chapel Hill’s Kent Taylor Run for the Kids Invitational and took six events while attempting to dash school and national records.

Senior LaToya James aims for UNC’s mark in the 60-meter hurdles.

“My goal is to get our school record, which is 8.10,” she said. “My best friend has it from last year, so that’s the goal.”

Her preliminary race in the hurdles Saturday drew cheers from onlookers as she waxed all competition in her heat with a time of 8.24. The finals were no different as James won with a time of 8.27.

“I was trying to run a time to qualify for nationals, so they told me not to race everyone else — race the clock,” James said. “The national record is 8.14. I am .1 seconds away from it.”

Freshman pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter’s jump of 13-1 1/4 feet sprung her to the No. 2 spot in the ACC. She uses her friendly rivalry with fellow vaulter Sandi Morris for competition and support.

“I had an injury that set me back, but it’s the best thing that she and I can be back together,” Van Meter said. “We’re best friends, roommates, and the only two people crazy enough to keep up with each other.”

They are both striding toward UNC’s peak vault of 13-2 1/2 feet set in 2004.

“One of us is going to crack it very soon,” Van Meter said.

Senior Patience Coleman tied for the No. 10 spot in the country with a high jump of 5-10 3/4 feet.

While the women enjoyed success in Chapel Hill, UNC coach Dennis Craddock and the top male runners traveled to Annapolis to test their abilities on a banked track.

UNC sprinters hoped the track at Naval Academy would produce faster times. Because the team will take only 28 athletes to the ACC Championships, the times racers accrue during the season are significant for ACC standings.

Without an invitation to Annapolis, the men who stayed to compete in Chapel Hill felt the pressure.

“It inspired a lot of them who didn’t get to make the trip to say, ‘OK, I have to step up my level,’” assistant coach Josh Langley said. “Not that we had lesser competition here by any means — we have some good teams in here — but it gives them the chance to state their case for the ACC team.”

In the spirit of breaking records, Langley noted the caliber of athleticism in the Eddie Smith Field House.

“That’s the beautiful thing about track and field, talent is talent and it doesn’t matter what school you are at,” he said. “If you are going fast, you have the opportunity to win.”

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