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The Daily Tar Heel

Preview: A look at the seven Tar Heels competing in the NCAA Track & Field Championships


UNC senior thrower Jill Shippee (left) and UNC senior javelin thrower Madison Wiltrout (right) pose for a portrait on Aug. 18, 2020.

This Wednesday through Friday, several members of the North Carolina outdoor track and field team will be competing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, held at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Here’s a look at the seven different Tar Heels who will be competing, and how they got here.

James Joycey, men’s hammer throw

In the first day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, senior thrower James Joycey placed third in the men’s hammer throw event with a personal best 227-4 (69.29m) to qualify for the NCAA Championships. 

Before the preliminary round, Joycey recorded a heave of 221-2 (67.41m) in the ACC Outdoor Championships, earning himself a silver medal. This is the second year in a row that Joycey has earned a podium finish in the men’s hammer throw at the conference championships. 

Jill Shippee, women’s hammer throw

Graduate thrower Jill Shippee set yet another ACC record at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, beating her previous mark of 69.76 meters with a heave of 70.07 meters. She was the top overall finisher in her preliminary round, beating the next-closest competitor by over 1.5 meters.

Shippee is a veteran to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning bronze in the hammer throw event just last year. She also placed in the top 15 of the championships in her first year at UNC to earn second-team All-America honors.

Anna Keefer, women’s long jump

Redshirt senior Anna Keefer placed ninth in the women’s long jump in the NCAA East Preliminary Round to punch her ticket to Oregon. She recorded a distance of 20-4.5, a mark off of her personal-best 21-6. Keefer is also coming off of a second-place finish in the women’s long jump final at this year’s ACC Outdoor Championships with a distance of 6.40 meters.

At the NCAA East Preliminary Round, Keefer also competed in the 200 meters, setting a school record with a time of 22.83. However, she failed to qualify after finishing in 15th place.

Madison Wiltrout, women’s javelin throw

Graduate Madison Wiltrout won the women’s javelin throw event on the second day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round with a throw of 182-11 (55.75m).

Wiltrout is coming into the championship hot, coming off of an ACC record-breaking performance with her throw of 196-11 (60.03m) at the ACC Outdoor Championships. Her performance not only broke the conference record for women’s javelin, but also broke the facility, meet and school records. 

Jesse Hunt, men’s 1,500 meters

Graduate runner Jesse Hunt placed seventh overall at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, with a time of 3:40.31, to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Hunt barely made the cut, as he was the last person selected to advance out of the two heats. 

At last year’s championship, Hunt placed 21st and was named an All-American honorable mention. This week marks Hunt’s second-ever appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Alex Ostburg, men’s 5,000 meters

Graduate Alex Ostburg, a transfer from Stanford, finished with a time of 13:44.42 in the men’s 5,000 meters heat at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. His time was good for fourth in his heat and 11th overall. He was just under nine seconds away from his personal-best time of 13:35.67.

Ostburg, a seven-time All-American, is no stranger to the NCAA Championships. During his time at Stanford, Ostburg attended the championships multiple times as a cross country runner.

Sasha Neglia, women’s steeplechase

Sophomore Sasha Neglia was the last Tar Heel to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships from the preliminary competition. 

At the NCAA East Preliminary Round, she placed ninth in the women’s steeplechase after running a personal-best time of 9:59.80. Despite placing fourth in her heat, her time alone was good enough to advance her to the championships. 

Neglia, like Ostburg, has cross country experience at the championship level as a two-time cross country NCAA Championship competitor. She’s also trending in the right direction, as the sophomore improved upon her recent ACC Outdoor Championships steeplechase time of 10:03.06 by roughly three seconds. 


@dthsports |

Shelby Swanson

Shelby Swanson is the 2023-24 sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant sports editor and senior writer. Shelby is a junior pursuing a double major in media and journalism and Hispanic literatures and cultures.