Over the weekend, the North Carolina track and field team competed at the Tiger Paw Invitational and the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational at Clemson University and Liberty University, respectively.
With the ACC Championships just weeks away, many on the team took the meets as an opportunity to tune up or get into form, but there were still great showings from many Tar Heels over the weekend.
At Clemson, sophomore Sydney Banks tied for a second-place finish in the long jump with a score of 1.72 meters. In the women's weight throw, senior Jill Shippee got a season-best throw of 20.05 meters and earned a third-place finish. Senior Daniel McArthur won first place in the shot put with a throw of 20.20 meters.
At Liberty, first-year Taryn Parks and senior Emmeline Fisher finished second and third place, respectively, in the women’s mile with times of 4:51.53 and 4:53.48.
There were also multiple Tar Heels who posted personal bests in their respective events.
Fifth-year Paige Hofstad came first in the women’s 3000-meter at Liberty with a personal best time of 9:26.25. Hofstad said she was confident in her ability to go out and set a new personal record.
“I thought I was in shape, I just needed to get my mindset right," Hofstad said. "After the race that didn’t go that well two weeks ago, I really just wanted to make sure I got back in the right mindset, and I was able to do that and get my PR.”
Junior James Joycey threw a personal record of 20.91 meters in the men’s weight throw event at Clemson and took home second place. Joycey, who transferred from Nebraska, was happy to get a PR in his performance and highlighted how much Saturday's outing meant for his confidence as he has tried to transition to being in Chapel Hill.
“I’ve really been trying to get in the groove with everything, I’m trying to be the same person every day," Joycey said. "UNC's been great. I’ve got a great coach and a great coaching staff around me and just good people that I’m surrounded by everyday. Between all of those things, it makes training a great time and everything else easier.”
Joycey has faith in himself and the rest of the throws team’s ability to be a major force as the season continues.
"We’re ready to put the NCAA on notice," Joycey said. "The UNC squad is coming for the top, and we’re gonna do great things.”
At this point in the season, associate head coach Michael Eskind was able to highlight a few athletes on the team who have surpassed expectations ahead of the ACC Championships.
“James Joycey in the throws, Daniel McArthur again in the shot, Jill Shippee in the women’s weight, Anna Keefer had another big weekend in the long jump and the 200," Eskind said. "Isaiah Palmer in the 400 as well. We had really solid performances and had an exciting weekend.”
Eskind added how pleased he has been with what he has seen from the team this season, considering everything going on between the pandemic and schedule changes. Still, he is optimistic about what the team can do for the rest of the season.
“The kids are doing a great job of handling everything that we are dealing with and being really resilient," Eskind said. "We’ve been grateful for every opportunity. The goal is to get better each week, and that means different things for different kids and different groups. We know where we are and really just want to keep getting better and better.”