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Sunday June 26th

UNC track and field's indoor season ends at NCAA Championships

Anna Keefer is pictured at a track and field invitational at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Tom Connelly.
Buy Photos Anna Keefer is pictured at a track and field invitational at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Tom Connelly.

The North Carolina track and field program traveled to Birmingham, Ala. this weekend to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, resulting in several All-America honors and outstanding performances by UNC. 

What happened?

Three Tar Heels punched their ticket for the NCAA championships after a successful 2022 indoor season. Graduate Jill Shippee competed in the women’s weight throw, graduate Daniel McArthur in men’s shot put and redshirt senior Anna Keefer in women’s long jump and 200 meter sprint. 

The meet started on Friday, Mar. 11 at 4 p.m. and ran until Saturday night. Both Shippee and Keefer competed in their respective events on day one, while McArthur participated in the men’s shot put finals on the second day. 

On Friday, Shippee was the first Tar Heel to enter competition as she stepped up to the circle. A total of sixteen athletes from across the country participated in the weight throw event and Shippee finished in eleventh place with a throw of 71-1.25 (21.67m). In her first NCAA Indoors appearance, she used stellar technique and strength to earn second-team All-America honors.

Just one event later, Keefer competed and showed out in the women’s long jump. Although she placed eighth out of sixteen competitors, Keefer jumped an impressive 21-0.5 (6.41m) and earned first-team All-America honors. This performance also moved her up two spots from her tenth-place finish at last year’s championships. 

Later that day, Keefer also ran the 200m sprint in the third heat of the prelims. Placing twelfth, she came in at 23.45 seconds, which was just a second behind the first-place finisher in this event. This run once again earned an All-America honor, but this time on the second team.

To round out the North Carolina track and field appearances at the NCAA Indoor Championships, McArthur fouled during his one and only shot put attempt. Nevertheless, McArthur has received All-America honors his past three seasons as a Tar Heel, which just goes to show the talent this UNC team has and will have in the future. 

Who stood out? 

All three athletes from UNC may not have brought in the most points to bring the team up in the rankings throughout this championship run, but shined in their individual events as they have been all season. 

Specifically, Keefer has proven herself to be one of the nation’s best female collegiate long jumpers and her performance in the NCAA Indoors further displayed her potential. Just a couple weeks ago at the ACC Indoor Championships, Keefer won the long jump title and set a new school record after reaching a distance of 21-6 (6.55m).

Competing against the best track and field athletes in the country, Keefer stood her ground and brought in impressive numbers in this meet to finish her last indoor season as a Tar Heel.

When was it decided?

After both Keefer and Shippee competed in their respective events on Friday, the women’s side of the UNC team had one point, placing them at 29th place overall. In the end, it was Keefer’s performance that put a number on the board.

The men’s side of the team, however, did not score any points in the meet after McArthur fouled during shot put competition, which left them without a ranking. 

Why does it matter?

This meet may mark the end of the indoor track and field season for the Tar Heels, but their performances this weekend and throughout their entire season will give them goals to strive toward and the necessary momentum for a successful outdoor season that is on the horizon.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will kick off their outdoor season by competing in the Bill Webb Combined/Bill Davidson Memorial meet at High Point University Mar. 18 to Mar. 19.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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