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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina sent athletes to the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, VA and to the Duke Invitational in Durham over the weekend. The team came away with improved marks as they head into the final week of the regular season.

What happened?

At the Virginia Challenge, both the women and the men put up impressive numbers.

The youngsters on the women’s side were particularly high performing. First-year McKinley McNeill posted a season-best in the 400m with a time of 54.32, which gave her a fourth place finish out of 35 competitors.

Sophomores Nicole Greene and Anna Eaton achieved high-level marks in their jumping events. Greene secured fourth place in the high jump with a height of 1.80 meters, which is first in the ACC this season. Eaton jumped a season-best 3.98 meters in the pole vault to place fifth.

The upperclassmen were not to be out done. Veteran Sarah Howard, a senior, placed second in shot put with a throw of 16.07 meters, and junior Natisha Dixon placed 14th and 11th in the 100m and 400m hurdles, respectively.

The men had equally impressive results in Charlottesville. Junior Kwame Donyinah placed second out of 30 runners in the 400m with a time of 47.51.

Hurdlers Kenny Selmon and RJ Alowonle placed second and third in the 400m hurdles, respectively. Selmon’s time of 49.89 was a season-best.

“Kenny Selmon’s performance in the 400 hurdles . . . was probably the highest performance of the meet on a national level,” head coach Harlis Meaders said. “I think his performance and the performance by Nicole Greene . . . those performances were truly the standout performances of the meet.”

Sophomore Darryl Shaw posted bests in his two jumping events. In the long jump, Shaw secured first place with a lifetime-best jump of 7.14 meters. In the triple jump, he posted a season-best of 15.44 meters to place fifth.

The Tar Heels in Durham posted a few breakthrough performances, including first year thrower Daniel McArthur’s lifetime best in the shot put.

Redshirt first year Jared Martin also had a lifetime best toss in the Javelin, where he threw 180’ 10”, a mark that currently ranks 12th in the conference. Sophomore Katlin Sherman also had a 12th best conference mark with her season-best 23.85 in the 200-meter dash.

Who stood out?

McArthur was one of the highlights of the weekend for the Tar Heels. His toss of 61’ 4” in the shot put was the third best throw in the ACC this season, but was historic in the context of the UNC leaderboards. Only Vikas Gowda, a US Olympian and one of the most prolific track and field athletes in UNC history, has ever recorded a better outdoor mark in the shot put for the Tar Heels.

According to Meaders and McArthur, the toss was the culmination of what they have been seeing in practice this season.

“It doesn’t change my expectations, it just makes them more clear,” McArthur said. “The best is still to come for me.”

Why does it matter?

The performances by underclassmen in both Charlottesville and Durham show great potential for the future of the track and field program. McArthur’s mark, particularly significant coming from a first year, demonstrates potential for years to come for the Tar Heels. McArthur’s standout performance, along with the other season best marks, show hope for more immediate success as the Tar Heels set their sights on the postseason in just a few weeks.

Where do they play next?

The team will be back in Charlottesville next weekend to finish the regular season at the Virginia Grand Prix on April 29th.


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