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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC track and field performs well in postseason tuneup

Many North Carolina athletes had the chance for a final tuneup as the track and field team competed around the state in their last weekend of the regular season.

What happened?

Saturday saw the men’s and women’s teams field distance medley relay squads at the UCS invite in Winston-Salem, N.C. First year Mady Clahane, juniors Cierra Dunston and Blake Dodge, and sophomore Morgan Ilse represented the Tar Heels in the relay and clocked in at 11:18.49. This time was the third best in the ACC this year and earned them a spot in the fastest heat of the ACC Championships.

On Sunday, the Tar Heels returned to their home track for the first time since their season opener. The Eddie Smith Field House played host to the Kent Taylor Invitational, a small meet geared toward allowing athletes to tune up before the post season.

The Tar Heels in competition posted high marks. Janice Ezenwa, a junior jumper, won the long jump and was second in the triple jump behind UNC first year Brianna Isles.

Two Tar Heels led the way in the weight throw, as redshirt sophomore Alex Cooke and senior Sam Miller posted the top two collegiate marks in the event behind Amber Campbell, who competed for Nike.

Who stood out?

The throwers for UNC had a phenomenal day at the Kent Taylor Invitational. Redshirt senior Sarah Howard and first year Daniel McArthur both captured the win in the women’s and men’s shot put competitions, respectively.

Howard won decisively with a season-best 55’ 2 1/4” throw that notches her the second farthest mark in the ACC this season and tied for 13th in the NCAA. McArthur also put the shot a season-best 57’ 3” for his victory, the fifth best mark in the conference. McArthur tacked on a win in the weight throw, where he hurled the 13th best mark in the conference and just missed his season best.

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels made the most of the weekend, using a quick race at the JDL Fast Track on Saturday and a full meet at their home track on Sunday to ensure that they made the dwindling moments of the season count as they gear up for the postseason.

Why does it matter?

With the regular season coming to its close, the team looked to get in a few more high marks to pick up higher seeds or qualifiers for the ACC Tournament. While the importance of getting into the postseason speaks for itself, picking up higher seed times is crucial in making sure the athletes have the opportunity to compete against the highest levels of competition to push for NCAA qualifiers.

Where do they run next?

The qualifying Tar Heels will head to South Bend, Ind., to compete at the ACC Championships from Feb. 23-25.


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