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Young talent shines for UNC track and field in Weems Baskin Invitational this weekend

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.

First-year Anna Keefer set a pair of personal records in the long jump and the 200 meters, and sophomore Liam Dixon also recorded a career-best mark in the pole vault as the North Carolina women’s and men’s track and field teams competed in the Weems Baskin Invitational in Columbia. S.C. this weekend.

What happened? 

Entering Friday, Keefer had yet to compete in the outdoor long jump, but expectations remained high thanks to her performance at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships. 

She didn’t disappoint. 

Instead, Keefer set a personal record with a 20-foot, 3-inch jump, which resulted in a second-place finish in the event. The jump is the best by an ACC athlete this season, and it beat Keefer’s previous personal best by half of an inch. 

On Saturday, Keefer once again established a new career-best, this time in the 200 meters, finishing sixth out of 149 competitors with a time of 23.94 seconds. 

Dixon took sixth place in the pole vault thanks to a personal-best mark of 15-feet, 11-inches. 

Who stood out? 

In addition to Keefer and Dixon’s personal records, several other Tar heels shined in Columbia. 

In the women’s 4x300 relay, the group of senior Jewel Christian, senior Cierra Dunston, junior Katlin Sherman and Keefer finished in 2:35.49, good for second place behind the Gamecocks.

The Tar Heels also took second place in the 4x400 relay, as junior Amari DeVaughn, first-year Isaiah Palmer, redshirt senior Cory Nicholls and senior Kenny Selmon finished in 3:12.02. 

In the hammer throw, first-year Jill Shippee finished in third place with a 196-foot, 11-inch throw. Sophomore Daniel McArthur also earned a third-place finish in the shot put with a 59-foot, 0.25-inch toss. 

In the men’s 100 meters, first-year Dontavian Smith placed in 13th place out of 149 competitors with a time of 10.59 seconds. 

Why does it matter? 

For the Tar Heels, this weekend’s meet illustrated how talented some of their youngest competitors are. 

Keefer is only a first-year, but she set a pair of personal records and was part of a relay team that placed second. Good performances by Dixon, Shippee, McArthur and Smith — all of whom are first-years or sophomores — also provide hope for UNC going forward. 

When do they play next? 

UNC returns to the track next weekend when it competes in the Raleigh Relays at N.C. State from March 30-31. 

@brennan_doherty

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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