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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC track and field has strong individual performances, mixed results at Notre Dame Invitational

Hurdles Carolina Cup

Runners compete in the women's hurdles event during the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup on Jan. 13 in Eddie Smith Field House.

The North Carolina track and field teams headed to South Bend on Saturday to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational. The women placed second out of seven schools with 86 points and the men placed fifth out of six schools with 71 points. Heptathlete Will Eskew and high jumpers Nicole Green and Draven Crist also put up strong performances at the Clemson Invitational over the weekend. 

What happened?

It was an especially good day to be a junior or senior on the North Carolina women's team. In the 200-meter dash, senior Cierra Dunston finished third out of 31 runner with a time of 24.68. Senior Blake Dodge placed second out of 17 runners in the 800-meter run with a 2:10.08 time. 

In the one-mile run, senior Caroline Alcorta, junior Morgan Ilse, and sophomore Erin Edmundson claimed second, third and fourth place out of 20 runners. Senior Natisha Dixon ran 8.39, the fastest in the 60-meter hurdle and redshirt junior Alexandria Cooke placed first in the weight throw. The team of Dixon, McKinley McNeill, Jewel Christian and Dunston also won the 4x400 meter relay, running 3:4.00.

The underclassmen weren't quiet either. Sophomore McKinley McNeill placed second in the women’s 600-meter run with a time of 1:30.98, first-year Anna Keefer placed first in the long jump, and redshirt junior Alexandria Cooke topped the weight throw standings.

The Tar Heels also placed 5th and 10th in the pole vault and 11th in the shot put. 

In the men's meet, the underclassmen shined. In the 200-meter dash, first-year Dontavian Smith placed second and sophomore Brandon Cachon placed fifth out of 18 runners. In the 600-meter run, first-year Isaiah Palmer placed first and senior Kenny Selmon secured second. In the 3,000-meter run, redshirt first-year Brodie Modini placed third out 28 and redshirt first-year Marcus Krah placed first in the men’s 60-meter hurdles.

A team of junior Amari DeVaughn, senior Kenny Selmon, sophomore Brandon Cachon and first-year Isaiah Palmer won the men’s 4x400 meter relay, with a time of 3:09.73. The men also placed 10th out of 14 in the long jump.

At the Clemson Invitational, Eskew, Crist and Greene had decent performances away from the rest of the team. Eskew finished fourth in the heptathlon, Crist tied his personal best with a 6 foot 8.75 inch jump for sixth place and Greene, last week's ACC performer, finished second place with a six foot .75 inch jump.

Who stood out?

Many shined bright at the meet for North Carolina. Keefer was the only first-year on the women’s team to earn a first place spot, and recorded the best long jump performance in the ACC so far this year. Dixon, Cooke, McNeil, Christian, and Dunston also ran well, taking home first place for the women.

For the men, young performers Krah and Modini stood out for the first place finishes in their events. Palmer, DeVaughn, Selmon and Cachon also grabbed first place spots.

Why does it matter?

After this weekend, both teams will learn from the trial and error of the event. The North Carolina women hope to continue strong performances as the season progresses and the men want to improve their performance. With the season starting to roll into action, the Tar Heels got to see the strength and excitement their new first-years have to offer. 

When do they play next?

The teams compete on the road again on Friday Jan. 26 and Saturday Jan. 27 at Clemson for the Bob Pollock meet.

@kellie_nattress | @DTHSports

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