This past week, seven athletes from the North Carolina track and field team traveled to Eugene, Ore., to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships held at Hayward Field.
Kicking off the meet for the Tar Heels was senior James Joycey, who competed in the men’s hammer throw event on Wednesday.
To qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Joycey threw a personal best of 227-4 (69.29m) in the NCAA East Preliminary Round. This time around, he received a mark of 221-2 (67.43m) and finished in fifteenth place.
Just hours later, graduate Jesse Hunt ran in the men’s 1,500 meters semifinal heat against 23 other competitors. Hunt did not qualify for the final heat of this event, earning an 18th-place finish with a time of 3:42.28.
On day two, the women of the North Carolina track and field team started competition in their respective events.
The first event of the day was women’s hammer throw, with accomplished graduate thrower Jill Shippee stepping into the circle. In the NCAA East Preliminary Round, Shippee set yet another ACC record to beat her previous mark of 69.76 meters with a heave of 70.07 meters.
To finish out her career as a Tar Heel, Shippee placed ninth place out of 24 NCAA opponents with a throw of 224-3 (68.36m).
The next athlete to compete for UNC was sophomore Sasha Neglia, who ran in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal heat and finished 20th with a time of 10:15.44, which did not qualify her for the final heat.
On Thursday evening, graduate Madison Wiltrout placed third in women's javelin with a throw of 183-5 (56.46m) for the NCAA bronze medal.
Ending the day was redshirt senior Anna Keefer in the women’s long jump event. Out of 24 competitors, Keefer finished in 10th place with a leap of 20-6 ½ (6.26m).
On Friday, graduate Alex Ostberg was the last Tar Heel to compete in the meet. In the men’s 5000 meter event, Ostberg ran a personal best performance with a time of 13:31.60 to finish eighth overall.
Wiltrout and Ostberg earned first-team All-America honors and Keefer, Joycey and Shippee received second-team honors. Hunt and Neglia were honorable mention All-Americans.
Who stood out?
Wiltrout placed the highest out of the seven UNC athletes competing with her podium-worthy finish in the women’s javelin.
Wiltrout came off of a record-breaking performance in the ACC Championships after setting not only the conference record for women’s javelin, but also the facility, meet and school records. With another impressive display at the NCAA championships, earning the bronze medal for the second time in her career, Wiltrout has certainly left her mark on the UNC track and field program.
When was it decided?
Although North Carolina was not in the running for the team title, the women finished 37th while the men finished 68th.
Why does it matter?
This meet may not have brought any trophies home for the team, but it did display the potential of many of UNC's competitors, as well as give several graduating athletes a fitting farewell to their collegiate careers.
When do they play next?
Since this meet ended the 2022 outdoor season, the North Carolina track and field team will not be competing until indoor competition begins early next year.