The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday October 19th

Six former UNC athletes are set to compete for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics

UNC midfielder Crystal Dunn (19) runs down a loose ball.
Buy Photos UNC midfielder Crystal Dunn (19) runs down a loose ball.

Update 3:04 p.m.: This story was updated with Naya Tapper and former UNC athletes representing other countries in Women's Soccer.


Over 600 athletes will be representing Team USA when the Olympic Games kick off on Friday. But before donning the red, white and blue, some were sporting powder blue and argyle.

Here are all of the former UNC athletes who will be competing for the U.S. in Tokyo this year:

Women’s Soccer

The dominant UNC women’s soccer program will be well-represented once again in Tokyo with veterans Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath on the roster. This will be Heath’s fourth and Dunn’s second appearance in the Olympic Games.

Dunn can play from any position on the pitch, starting as a defender, midfielder and forward throughout her career at UNC. She was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a first-year and as a junior, then went on to win ACC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2013. In 2012, Dunn also won the Hermann Trophy, awarded to the best college soccer player in the nation. Dunn has primarily served as a defender on the national team, which she has been a part of since 2013.

Heath is one of the most skilled offensive players that has ever come through Chapel Hill. As a midfielder for the Tar Heels, Heath scored 19 career goals while leading UNC to three national championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Heath won her first gold medal with the U.S. National Team in 2008, being just one of three active college players to be named to the team. Of the current team, only 39-year-old Carli Lloyd has matched Heath in Olympic appearances.

Other Tar Heel alums will be competing against Dunn and Heath in Tokyo, including Katie Bowen of New Zealand and Lotte Wubben-Moy and Lucy Bronze of Great Britain.

Baseball

Baseball is making its return to the Olympics this year and the U.S. has put forward a roster of MLB veterans and minor league prospects, two of whom spent their collegiate careers at UNC.

Tim Federowicz — who played for the Diamond Heels for three seasons — is a classic utility player who made appearances for UNC as a catcher, relief pitcher and first baseman. As a first-year at UNC, Federowicz was named an All-American by Baseball America and boasted a .303 batting average as a junior. In 2008, he was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the seventh round of the MLB draft. Federowicz made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 2011 but was traded in 2014 and has drifted through multiple organizations since.

Unlike his Tar Heel counterpart, Ryder Ryan hasn’t yet made it to “The Show.” Ryan was an elite high school pitching prospect but fell to the 40th round of the 2014 draft because of his hard commitment to play at UNC.

Ryan played third base for two seasons at UNC but struggled offensively, batting .143 and .231 in those years. He was drafted as a pitcher once again in the 2016 draft and decided to sign with the Cleveland Indians rather than return to college. Since then, Ryan developed into a quality pitching prospect in the New York Mets’ farm system. Ryan began the 2021 season with the Triple-A Round Rock Express.

Track and Field

Kenny Selmon, one of the most decorated sprinters in the history of UNC, will also be making his Olympic debut in Tokyo as part of the 400-meter hurdles squad.

Selmon previously competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials when he was still at UNC but missed the cut for the 400 hurdles. As a senior, Selmon placed second in the event at the 2018 NCAA Championships and broke UNC’s program record with his time of 48.12 seconds. He qualified for the Olympic team in June.

Women's Rugby

Naya Tapper will be competing in her first Olympics as a member of Team USA's women's rugby team. Tapper started her playing career at UNC with the club rugby team and graduated in 2016. Earning her first international cap in 2017, Tapper has gone on to become the second all-time try scorer for the U.S.

@LucasThomae

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com



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