The top five finishers on the women’s team each recorded personal best times, VanAlsytne said.
Lianne Farber, who won the women’s race, came within fractions of a second of breaking the 17-minute mark in the 5K.
VanAlstyne said Farber’s time of 17:00.5 is the second-fastest ever run on the course, and he thinks it could have been even faster.
“Had she been a little more conservative in the early going, I really feel she would have gotten under the 16:40 course record,” he said. “But you have to give her a lot of credit for hanging in there and finishing strong.”
Farber, a sophomore, used the race to gain confidence and prepare herself for the more meaningful meets later in the season.
“I wasn’t really supposed to race until two weeks from now, but I wanted to get in a race with no pressure and have fun with it,” Farber said. “Today was about staying relaxed and seeing how far training has gotten me.”
On the men’s side, sophomore Jack Driggs and freshman Stephen Mulherin led the way for the Tar Heels.
The pair sat behind a pack of N.C. State runners for the first two miles and pushed to the front over the latter half of the race.
Driggs (15:08.0) finished in seventh, and Mulherin (15:08.5) came in ninth.
Driggs said he’s a proponent of getting the freshmen experience early in the season.
“It’s done a lot for them,” Driggs said. “I can already tell that running these races with not too much pressure is really opening doors for the freshman, and you can see it during practice. They’re a lot more confident in workouts and such. I think it’s going to translate really well for us later on.”
VanAlsytne hopes the strategy pays dividends later in the season.
“There are bigger fish to fry ahead of us, and we don’t want to show all of our talent right now,” he said. “But if the guys who ran today are any indication of the depth we’re going to have this year, I’m very happy with it.”