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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC track and field teams fall to Duke, but have strong individual performances

Emily Malone track field
First-year Emily Malone prepares to compete in the shot-put event at the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup in the Eddie Smith Field House on Saturday, Jan. 12 2019.

The North Carolina track and field men's and women's teams both narrowly lost in the Battle of the Blues competition against Duke on Saturday. Still, several individual Tar Heels posted impressive performances.

What happened?

The North Carolina men lost by a final score of 73-80, while the women lost by a score of 75-79. The scores were neck and neck until the end, when Duke edged out the Tar Heels on both sides.

Who stood out?

Despite the loss, many Tar Heels had outstanding performances. Jill Shippee had probably the most impressive outing of the athletes, as she broke her own record in the hammer throw by 2.44 meters. The sophomore recorded a 67.09-meter throw, her fourth time breaking the school record for women’s hammer throw. 

Her record stands first in the ACC, second in the East Region and fourth in the NCAA.

“She was already ranked among the top 10, and that should elevate her to the top five,” said head coach Harlis Meaders. “Truly an exceptional performance from her.”

Another headlining performance was by Anna Keefer, who took home first place in three events. In the women’s long jump, she recorded an impressive 20-0 ¼ (6.10 meters), good for her season best. In the 100-meter competition, she won with a blazing time of 11.62 seconds. Keefer finished off her strong day with a 23.92 second time in the 200-meter competition. 

“Anna Keefer had her three wins and did a lot for us today,” Meaders said. “I’m very proud of her.”

Although those two were the stars of the event, another performances that stood out was North Carolina sweeping the women’s discus. Nicole Kiszenia, Emily Malone and Alex Cooke recorded scores of 128-6 (39.16 meters), 118-8 (36.19 meters) and 105-7 (32.19 meters), respectively.

In the women’s 400 meter, McKinley McNeill and Maiah Walker finished first and second. McNeill recorded a 54.41 to take first place and Walker followed closely behind in with her personal best of 54.67 seconds. 

On the men’s side, Daniel McArthur dominated the discus and shotput competitions with scores of 176-6 (53.80 meters) and 61-2 ¼ (18.65 meters), respectively. Also in the field, Drew Pederson and Liam Dixon both cleared 15-9 (4.80 meters) in the pole vault and qualified for the ACC Outdoor Championship.

The men’s team also did well in the track competitions. Jadon Johnson won the men’s 400 meter with a time of 47.25 seconds, good to qualify for the ACC Outdoor Championships. Saypadia DeSaussure II won the men’s 100 meter, posting an 11.00 second time. 

Brandon Tubby was another North Carolina track athlete who took home first place. He won the men’s 800 meter with a time of 1:52.28 seconds, which was also his personal best. Ryan Saint-Germain also won the men’s 200 meter with a time of 21.88 seconds. 

“Even though we didn’t come out on top, I was really happy with the play on both sides,” Meaders said. “We’ve got more matches to go before ACC prelims and we can get better in the individual and team challenges.”  

When was it decided?

The meet was close, the entire time but Duke proved to be a worthy opponent and emerged victorious. That didn't stop individual Tar Heels from performing well, however.

Why does it matter?

The Battle of the Blues is a dual meet, which doesn’t occur very often in track and field. It is a fun event between rival schools who have been improving all year, and they get to put their skills to the test as they get closer to postseason play.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in action on April 12, when the team will split up and compete in both the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational in Miami, Fl. and the Aggie Invitational in Greensboro, N.C.

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