The UNC men’s cross country team continued its great start to the season by placing first in the Adidas XC Challenge.
The Tar Heels were led by first-year Parker Wolfe, who finished first overall in the 6000 meter race, running a 17:48.0. With five UNC runners finishing in the top ten, North Carolina finished with 31 points, 16 less than the second place NC State.
Among those top five runners, junior John Tatter finished in sixth with a time of 17:58.5. Senior Jack Aho, first-year Will Coogan and sophomore Marshall Williamson all finished seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, running below the 18:10 mark.
Other ACC teams in the Adidas XC Challenge included Wake Forest, Duke and NC State along with other North Carolina schools like UNC Greensboro, Campbell, North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T.
Who stood out?
Wolfe shined in his UNC debut, getting first place by almost four seconds. The 2020-2021 Gatorade National Player of the Year for boys’ cross country is already proving to be a fantastic addition for head coach Chris Miltenberg’s squad.
Tatter, Aho and Coogan each put up another solid performance and their second top ten finish in a row.
Coogan finished third two weeks ago in Charlotte; another fantastic first-year runner for the next generation of UNC men’s cross country.
Tatter and Aho have been just as good as they too placed in the top five alongside Coogan in Charlotte.
When was it decided?
The race was decided once the first ten runners crossed the finish line with five of them being Tar Heels. Since only the top five runners impact a team’s final score, UNC was already locked in at 31 points.
Other Tar Heels who performed well outside of the top ten were first-year Michael Spragley in 17th place and junior Jesse Hunt who finished in 20th.
Why does it matter?
This is the second consecutive race that North Carolina has finished first, showing their promise to capture an ACC Championship title.
Furthermore, the young runners are heavily contributing to the success of the team, creating a well balanced team of veterans and first-years for Miltenberg.
In his third season as head coach, Miltenberg has led an improving cross country team on both the men and women’s side, and they are looking dangerous to start the season. With the men finishing seventh last year at the ACC Championship, Miltenberg is looking to crack into the top five or potentially win it all in late October.
When do they play next?
UNC’s next race is the Paul Short Run at Lehigh on October 1st as they look to capture their third victory in a row.
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