Rock Hill, S.C. — On Friday, the North Carolina men’s and women’s cross country teams raced in the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships at Winthrop.
The women and men placed 14th and 11th respectively, out of 33 teams. Despite improvements over their performance in the ACC Championships two weeks ago, neither team qualified for the NCAA Championships, which means this was the season’s last race for the Tar Heels.
First-year Enyaeva Michelin led the Tar Heels in the women’s 6k race, placing 12th with a time of 20:19.3.
Graduate student Nick Golebiowski finished first for the men's team in 36th with a time of 30:58.0. The men’s team finished 11th overall, showing a marked improvement from its 2017 finish at 16th place.
Who stood out?
Michelin finished her season as UNC's consistent front-runner, and both she and head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough are looking forward with anticipation.
“With what Enyaeva is showing out here today, we feel like we've got some really nice pieces we can put in place for this time next year,” Grove-McDonough said.
Michelin agreed with her coach's assessment. “I think next year it's gonna be pretty spectacular," she said.
On the men’s side, Golebiowski finished his career on a positive note.
“I thought Nick had a terrific day today,” Grove-McDonough said. “He showed a lot of composure, ran tough.”
Golebiowski expressed optimism for the future of the team he leaves behind.
“I'm the only graduating runner on the team,” he pointed out. “I'm really excited to see how they go, how they do do, even though I won't be around to contribute directly.”
When was it decided?
As in the ACC Championships, Michelin started slow but climbed her way up throughout the race.
Golebiowski surpassed both Jeremy Brown and Alex Milligan, both of whom outran him at the ACC Championships.
Why does it matter?
“I think today was a big day for us as a team,” Golebiowski said. “Coming off the ACC meet, that was a bit of a disappointment … So today was a real test of our ability to bounce back as a team.”
Grove-McDonough concurred with the statement. “I think they needed to bounce back … and they did that,” she said. She was pleased with the Tar Heels' resurgence after the ACCs.
“I felt like I saw more composure and more focus and a lot of toughness, a lot of heart,” she said.
When do they play next?
UNC's season is now over with the conclusion of the meet. Between now and the beginning of next season, the team will continue to improve.
“The main focus [of today] was just trying to execute and then build some good momentum going into the track season and also something to build off of for next year,” Golebiowski said.
Grove-McDonough believes that, while her plans for the future rely partially on recruitment, the team has already begun to invest in the 2019 season.
“We made a lot of changes and adjustments to what [the athletes] were doing and I think a year from now we'll see the benefits of that,” she said.
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