The North Carolina track and field teams will head to Clemson University on Thursday to compete in the 2021 ACC Indoor Championships, with the men's team looking to win its first title since 1996, and the women's team looking for its first since 2004.
“The exciting part is that we have such a broad range of exciting things happening across all the event areas,” head coach Chris Miltenberg said. “On the men’s side, I think we’ve got a great, complete team. We were fifth last year, and I think we can be even better than that.”
The competition will begin on Thursday at 1 p.m., with sophomore Ben Finger looking to surpass his season-high of 4.92 meters in the men’s pole vault. That same day, senior Jill Shippee will compete in the women’s weight throw.
Later in the day, sophomore Sydney Banks will leap in the women’s high jump, while juniors James Joycey and Troy Yearwood and fifth-year Daniel McArthur — whose season-bests rank third, fourth and seventh in the conference, respectively — will compete in the men’s weight throw.
“Our men’s throws group is a really strong group right now, and I love seeing the way they fire each other up,” Miltenberg said. “They’re really rising and rising fast. We have mature, older guys in there and I think they are going to bring a lot to this weekend.”
Over on the track on Thursday, sophomores John Tatter and Marshall Williamson will run the men’s 5000-meter before fifth-year Cameron Douglas and junior Qhiyal Towns compete in the men's 200-meter.
Senior Anna Keefer will begin her busy weekend with the women's 200-meter, while also competing in the 60-meter, long jump and 4x400 relay later on. Miltenberg considers the senior to be the leader of the women's team, so fans can expect her to be all over the place in her final indoor ACC meet.
Rounding out Thursday’s competitions are the distance medley relays, an event the Tar Heel men set a school record in last week, finishing with a time of 9:38.96 — the sixth-fastest split in the nation.
“That was a really important step forward in the growth of our team,” Miltenberg said. “In the history of this program, Carolina has never sent a men’s distance medley relay team to the NCAA Indoor Championships before, and if we’re going to build a great distance program, that’s step one of that.”
The Tar Heels start Friday’s events at 11 a.m. with the men’s long jump.
At 4 p.m., graduates Brandon Tubby and Conor Lundy have their hands full with Hokies in the mile run, as the event’s four fastest times in the conference this season all belong to Virginia Tech.
Keefer, who currently leads the ACC in the women’s long jump with a mark of 6.38 meters, will look to win that event at 5 p.m.
Senior Isaiah Palmer will run the men's 60-meter dash alongside Towns, and Keefer headlines the Tar Heels in the women's 60-meter. Palmer will also compete in the men's 400-meter, where his time of 46.62 seconds ranks second in the ACC.
Most finals happen Saturday, including the triple jump and shot put. Sophomore Jaren Holmes, currently third in the conference in men’s triple jump, competes at 10:30 a.m.
McArthur, who leads the ACC in men's shot put this season by nearly five feet, will look to continue his dominant form at 11 a.m.
The meet’s concluding events, the men’s and women’s 4x400 relays, start at 3:10 p.m. North Carolina’s men’s group won this event in 2020 and enters with the fourth-fastest time this year.