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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC track and field breaks records at final event before ACC Championships

Liam Dixon Carolina Cup

Sophomore Liam Dixon competes in the pole vault during the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup on Jan. 13 in Eddie Smith Field House.

On Feb. 17, 1974, UNC's Tony Waldrop set an indoor mile world record of 3:55. Forty-four years later, the 2018 North Carolina men's and women's track and field teams set some records of their own.

In the UCS Invitational this past weekend in Winston-Salem, UNC took first place in two events and second in two others. It was the team's final event of the indoor regular season before the ACC indoor track and field championships.

What happened?

On the women's side, sophomore Brianna Duncan won first place out of eight contenders in the women’s 60 meters with a time of 7.42, improving off her preliminary time of 7.51. The next closest time was a 7.61.

First-year Peighton Simmons also earned first place out of 10 competitors in the women’s triple jump with a 40-7 mark on her third attempt. Sophomore Brianna Isles secured second place for North Carolina with a mark of 11.76m.

In the women’s 4000m distance medley relay, the Tar Heel team of seniors Cierra Dunston, Blake Dodge, Caroline Alcorta and sophomore Erin Edmundson placed second out of eight teams with a time of 11:17.78. 

Edmundson ran the first leg, but Dunston inherited being behind and had to come from behind. By the next exchange, Dodge brought the Tar Heels into second position. Finally, Alcorta was passed the baton and — although she was in first place for a moment — she lost the lead to Villanova toward the end of the race. The final race time was converted to 11:10.60, making it the fastest in the ACC this season, and the 8th fastest in the NCAA.

Senior Janice Ezenwa placed fourth out of 18 competitors in the women’s long jump with a 5.57m mark. Ezenwa also placed fourth in the women’s triple jump with an 11.34m mark.

Junior Kristin Hall placed ninth out of 32 runners with a time of 26.48 in the women’s 200 meters. Hall also placed 10th out of 32 with time of 59.26 in the women’s 400 meters.

On the men's side, first-year Dontavian Smith placed fourth out of seven competitors in the men’s 60 meters with a time of 6.91 seconds. His time improved from the preliminaries, where he placed eighth.

Junior Drew Pedersen placed ninth in the men’s pole vault for the Tar Heels with a 4.25m mark, and redshirt first-year Bailey Frederick placed 11th with an identical mark. 

In the men’s long jump, junior RaeKwon Villines placed sixth out of 17 jumpers with a mark of 6.54m, and first-year Carson Pledger placed 12th with a 6.09m mark. 

Who stood out?

By winning the first place in the women’s 60 meters, Duncan, nicknamed “Breezy" on Twitter, checked her third win off her list this season. It was the second time she won the event.

First-year Peyton Simmons experienced her first collegiate victory by winning the women’s triple jump. Her mark qualifies her for the ACC conference championships next weekend, an exciting prospect for UNC. Simmons’ mark was the fifth best in the ACC so far this season.

Why does it matter?

The North Carolina teams are preparing themselves for the big ACC Championships this weekend, and this meet highlighted their talent and qualified some athletes for those championships. The meet also helped the team realize the areas it needs to improve on to be competitors.

On Sunday, Nicole Green placed third at USATF indoor championships in Albuquerque, N.M. with a 1.88m jump. The jump tied her personal best and was the longest in the ACC this season and third longest in the NCAA.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will take their promising talent to the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships this upcoming weekend, February 22nd- 24th in Clemson, S.C.


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