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UNC track and field splits weekend at Camel City Invitational and Doc Hale Elite Meet

Draven Crist Track and Field
Redshirt junior Draven Crist competes in the high jump event at the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup in the Eddie Smith Field House on Saturday, Jan. 12 2019.

The North Carolina track and field teams competed in the Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet and the Camel City Invitational Friday and Saturday. 

What happened?

On Friday at the Doc Hale Elite meet, junior McKinley McNeill won the women’s 400-meter dash with a time of 54.78 seconds — which qualified her for the ACC Championship. 

Dontavian Smith also qualified for the men’s 60-meter dash with a time of 6.86 seconds and Isaiah Palmer qualified for the ACC Championship in the men’s 400-meter dash with a time of 46.86 seconds. 

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles redshirt sophomore Marcus Krah finished in first with a time of 8.07 seconds. Sophomore Anna Keefer won the women’s long jump with a 6.12 meter jump. 

At the Camel City Invitational on Friday, redshirt junior Draven Crist qualified for the ACC Championship with a 6-foot-8.75 inch leap in the men's high jump. Mary Nebrich had a 4-foot-11 inch jump, good enough for sixth in the unseeded women’s high jump. 

On Saturday, senior Morgan Ilse ran the fifth-fastest time in the country in the women’s 3000-meter dash. 

“We’re really glad to see a number of the kids continue improve,” head coach Harlis Meaders said. “During this part of the season we’re really just prepping for the ACC Championships and the National Championships, so it seems each weekend kids running a little bit faster, getting a little bit better is really what we’re looking for.”

Who stood out?

Crist has now posted three ACC-qualifying jumps with his high jump over the weekend. 

Keefer’s 20-foot-1 inch long jump was a season best, and marks her third straight victory in the contest. Krah’s performance in the men’s 60-meter hurdles was a season best as well. 

McNeill, Palmer, and Smith all had performances that qualified them for the ACC Championship later in February. Ilse built off  her strong showing at the Bob Pollock invitational where she had an ACC qualifying time of 4:40:10 in the women’s mile, and now has qualified for her third ACC event.

When was it decided?

On Friday, North Carolina set the tone early in Blacksburg, Va. with McNeill, Palmer and Smith qualifying early in the meet. Krah later went on to win the men’s 60-meter hurdles with his season best. With Keefer winning the long jump, North Carolina used the weekend for improving many scores. 

In Camel City, UNC was not as dominant, but the team still had a good showing. 

Why does it matter?

There are still several weeks before the ACC Championship, but on this weekend, several performers qualified for it in a weekend away from home. 

“I think that as long as our kids will continue to challenge themselves at each competition and to demand a little bit more from their bodies and put themselves in the best situation to have a positive result, our team going to continue to get better each week from this point forward,” Meaders said.

Where do they play next?

North Carolina competes in the Tiger Paw Invitational on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb.9.

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