The North Carolina men’s and women’s cross-country teams both posted their best finish in years at the ACC Championships on Friday in South Bend, Ind. The second-place finish for the women and the fourth-place finish for the men was the best finish out of both squads since 2014.
The women’s team, who raced first, earned an average time of 20:46.22, and posted 87 points. Those results placed the team in second, behind North Carolina State, who posted 20 points and an average time of 20:17.44.
The men’s team earned fourth place after a 110-point finish, behind Notre Dame and Syracuse who took first and second, and just six more points than third-place Wake Forest.
"It was muddy, it was wet, and there were a lot of unforeseen challenges that came about in the race today. Both for the women’s team and the men’s team,” women’s head coach Dylan Sorensen said. “I’m really proud of the fact that our team responded to those things in a manner that allowed them to master the challenges versus becoming victimized by them.”
Who stood out?
For the first time in program history, the Tar Heels picked up the ACC Freshman of the Year award on both the men’s and women’s squads, given to the true freshman who earns the fastest finish.
Brynn Brown earned the honor for the women, with a finish of 20:29.1, putting her in sixth place overall.
“Brynn ran a fantastic race because she was running for the team,” Sorensen said. “She chose to be selfless and tenacious as she competed today. And our whole team embodied that.”
In addition to Brown, three other Tar Heel’s placed in the top 21 runners for the women, earning All-ACC honors. Senior Paige Hofstad, first-year Kelsey Harrington and first-year Sasha Neglia finished 10th, 19th, and 20th, respectively.
On the men’s side, senior Jack Aho placed in the top-20 along with Wolfe, with his 23:53.7 finish earning him ninth place.
When do they play next?
Next up for both squads is the NCAA regional meet, which is the qualifier for the NCAA national championships.
“We will certainly celebrate this, but by no means is our season finished,” said Sorensen. “We’re only continuing to climb upwards, to learn, grow from this team race, and apply those lessons to the next competition so we can keep getting better.”
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