Throughout this season, the North Carolina men’s and women’s cross country teams have struggled to put together a complete team effort at races.
Friday was no different.
The men’s team placed ninth and the No. 29 women’s team placed fifth at the ACC Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Fla.
“We need to get production from our four and five spots, and we just haven’t been able to find it,” said Coach Mark VanAlstyne on the men’s team. “It’s frustrating to the guys, because they see it there in workouts.”
In 2014, the men placed third while the women took home the ACC title. But this year, incomplete team performances hindered both groups.
Redshirt junior Mark Derrick — the Tar Heels’ top finisher — nabbed the final All-ACC spot with a 21st-place finish, followed closely by sophomore Logan Carroll in 22nd and senior Stephen Mulherin in 27th.
Derrick said Carroll’s race was the best of his career, and added Mulherin came out hard and ended up paying for it at the end.
On the women’s side, sophomores Caroline Alcorta and Josette Norris finished in 12th and 17th, both earning All-ACC spots.
The women’s team finished behind the four other ranked ACC teams, all of which are ranked higher than UNC in the national polls.
“The takeaway is that in ACC cross country, you have to have a total team effort. We had some great individual performances, but I think we can have a better performance at nationals if we have a team effort.” — VanAlstyne on his teams’ takeaway from the weekend.
All of the top-5 finishers for the women’s team were underclassmen, and Alcorta and Norris both recorded personal bests on Friday.
Sophomore Hannah Christen just missed out on earning All-ACC honors. Her time of 20:49.4 was good for 23rd overall — just shy of being named an All-ACC performer.
Carroll was the only member of the men’s team to run a personal-best time.
The Tar Heels are scheduled to compete in the Adidas Three Stripe Invitational in Raleigh at 11 a.m. on Saturday.