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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC track and field sees three individuals and a relay team qualify for NCAA Championships

The NCAA East Preliminary track and field tournament saw three members of the North Carolina track and field team and one Tar Heel relay team qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Preliminary took place from Thursday through Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

What happened?

Junior Ceo Ways advanced in the men’s 400-meter with a sixth-place finish while sophomore Kenny Selmon and senior Javonte Lipsey placed fourth and eleventh, respectively, in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. 

These three also competed in the men’s 4x400-meter relay event, with Cory Nicholls rounding out the team. The relay team advanced to the Championships with an 11th-place finish.

Who stood out?

Although the veterans comprise the advancing group of Tar Heels, the team’s young athletes also gave a strong showing at the tournament. First-year Nicole Greene was 0.04 meters away from advancing to the Championships in the women’s high jump. She placed 13th in the preliminaries. The top 12 qualified.

“Our underclassmen gained some valuable experience and it was educational,” Meaders said. “We will benefit from it next year.”

Meaders said he hopes these young athletes help develop a more balanced team. While men’s sprints claimed numerous spots in the Championships, other events carried the team in earlier parts of the season.

“In order for us to make the next move, become a more comprehensive team, we need all of the components to show up at the same time,” Meaders said.

Why does it matter?

Developing underclassmen talent will be important, as five seniors wrapped up their North Carolina track and field careers over the weekend. Elizabeth Whelan, Avana Story, Austin Vegas, A.J. Hicks, and Houston Summers did not qualify within their events.

These seniors helped lead the team through the three-day tournament. Meaders said an atmosphere of mutual support is typical for his team, even in individual events.

“Teammates have been able to rely on each other,” said Meaders. “They turn internally for support.”

However, Meaders is not looking too far into the future. His team still has another tournament before wrapping up this season and saying good-bye to six seniors.

“We’re still going to Eugene, Oregon, and we’ve got a chance to do really well with the men’s team. We’re still in the championship part of the season,” Meaders said.

Where do they play next?

Lipsey, Ways, Selmon, and Nicholls will represent the Tar Heels in Eugene, Oregon in the NCAA Outdoors Championship. The tournament will take place June 8-11.

sports@dailytarheel.com

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