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The Daily Tar Heel

Brianna Duncan's record is bright spot for track and field at the Battle of the Blues

Daniel McArthur Raleigh Relays
Sophomore Daniel McArthur throws the shot put at the Raleigh Relays on March 30.

Squaring up with Duke and Michigan on Friday at the Battle of the Blues in the Blue Devils' Morris Williams Stadium, the UNC women’s track and field team came in third place, while UNC’s men’s team finished second.

What happened?

Senior Emily Godwin led the Tar Heels to a strong win to start the day in the high jump. She matched her season best of 5-feet, 6-inches, winning first place in the event.

The women’s team started the track events very well, with two Tar Heels – sophomore Brianna Duncan and first-year Anna Keefer – finishing in first and second in the 100-meter event. Duncan’s time (11.35 seconds) was a personal best and broke a 27-year-old university record.

Keefer leapt 20-feet, 9-inches to win first in the long jump. Her jump set a personal best, also putting her first in the ACC and sixth in the country this season. Duncan followed closely behind her, coming in third.

Another notable performance by a UNC woman was junior Nicole Kiszenia’s showing in the discus. She set a personal best with a 137-feet, 1-inch throw and finished first in the event.

The men Tar Heels started the meet on an absolute tear, sweeping the opening four events – the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter races. First-years Dontavian Smith and Isaiah Palmer won the 100-and 400-meter events, respectively. Palmer’s time (47.03) is the sixth best in the ACC this season.

Senior Brandon Reddick and redshirt-senior Cory Nicholls triumphed in the 200- and 800-meter events, respectively.

Smith, Palmer and Reddick, along with another first-year, Ryan Saint-Germain, won first in the 4x100 event. Their time of 40.63 puts them at third overall in the ACC this season.

The men’s team’s hard work also reaped rewards in the field events. Junior Draven Crist soared 6-feet, 9.5-inches to win the high jump, while Darryl Shaw bounded 49-feet, 0.75-inches to take first in the triple jump. Shaw also placed second in the long jump. To cap things off, sophomore Daniel McArthur won the shot put for the third time this season with a jump of 57-feet, 6.25-inches.

Who stood out?

Duncan truly stole the Tar Heel show on Friday. A sophomore from Cambridge, Mass., Duncan set the new 100-meter school record (11.35). Her outrageous pace puts her at second in the ACC and top 20 in the nation for the event this season.

Duncan is now the undisputed fastest woman in UNC school history. Earlier this year, in her debut event, Duncan also broke the record for the 60-meter event. That record was held for 20 years.

Smith and Reddick were the two most outstanding men’s Tar Heels of the evening. Smith’s personal best in the 100-meter race (10.48) places him fourth-fastest in the ACC this season. Reddick ran a 21.11 in the 200-meter, putting him at fourth in the ACC in the event this season. Reddick and Smith were also major components in UNC’s victory in the 4x100 event, running the first and second leg for the Tar Heels respectively.

When was it decided?

The Tar Heel’s third-place finish seemed imminent from the beginning. The women’s team had few wins other than Duncan's and Keefer’s throughout the rest of the meet. The lady Tar Heels finished with 60 points, trailing Duke’s 75 and Michigan’s 68.

The men’s team had numerous first place finishes throughout the meet. Michigan, however, consistently finished in the top four in each event, giving the squad a constant stream of points to add to its lead. UNC’s 69 points to end the day put the team well ahead of Duke (43) and a good distance behind Michigan (91).

Why does it matter?

In winning first place in the 100-meter event, Duncan became the fastest Tar Heel in program history. Her run broke Kendra Mackey's 11.37 mark, set in 1991. Keefer finished first in the long jump and in the process broke the top mark in the ACC this season.

When do they play next?

Both the men’s and women’s teams head to Miami next weekend for the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational on Saturday, April 14th at 9 a.m.

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