For some of North Carolina’s track and field team members, this weekend’s meets held at N.C. State and Georgia Tech were final opportunities to fine-tune technique for the first round of the NCAA tournament beginning May 29th.
Conversely, for others, the two meets were the desperate last chances to qualify as a top-48 competitor in their respective event or uphold the spot they have rightfully earned in order to reach their goal of the regional meet.
Lizzy Whelan was one of eight Tar Heels that competed in Friday’s Wolfpack Last Chance. One year ago in Raleigh, Whelan set a personal record of 2:05.13 while running in the women’s 800, a race she competed in at the ACC Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2013.
Taking first place for the second year in a row, Whelan finished just two seconds behind her previous time crossing the finish at 2:07.49.
“My main goal was just to have an aggressive race and see what I could do on the second lap,” said Whelan, who was not competing in the race for regional qualification.
Whelan has the option to run the 1,500 at regionals but says she has not yet decided if she will.
In comparison to her previous season as a Tar Heel, the versatile runner has added distance to her list of events.
“Last year I was strictly an 800 runner, and I really focused on speed,” Whelan said. “Whereas this year, because I am doing both the 800 and 1500, a lot of my training is endurance based.”
Friday’s overall winnings at the Georgia Tech Invitational, a larger two-day meet, revealed the high level of competition that was present from around the nation. The Tar Heels only took one first-place finish with Sarah Howard in the women’s shot put after throwing 16.26 meters.