The men’s 4×400 meter team approached the starting line knowing it was flanked by some of the best competition in the nation. But instead of rising to the occasion in the 69th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays on Saturday, it left Gainesville unsatisfied.
“I was disappointed. This week we ran a 3:10, and it’s not the greatest time, especially for us, because our PR from last year was a 3:06,” sophomore O’Neal Wanliss said. “All of our legs have to be on the same page but we’ll be ready to run fast when it comes time. “
The team, which finished eighth at the meet, consisted of Wanliss, freshman R.J. Alowonle, and seniors Reynaldo Radlin and Clayton Parros.
Parros felt that the relays provided insight regarding his team’s largest weaknesses and that it will be able to adjust practices leading up to conference championships accordingly.
“I think it was just kind of an off weekend, and we’ve been taking things for granted in practice,” Parros said. “If we want to be the team we want to be, we need to look at the negatives and get back to work.”
Coach Harlis Meaders said the Pepsi Relays meet is one of the most prestigious meets for sprinters and field events on the East Coast. Teams from across the nation and the world compete and provide competitive races for the Tar Heels.
UNC sent 17 athletes, some of whom competed in the invitational flight. Although the men’s 4×400 crossed the finish line with frustration, other Tar Heels shone at the relays.
Notably, freshman Sarah Howard threw a personal best of 16.17 meters in the shot put and placed sixth overall.
“Sarah Howard has been working hard all year, and it’s paid off,” Meader said. “She’s really dedicated to the sport,”