RALEIGH, N.C. - The University of North Carolina track and field program opened competition at the Raleigh Relays with nine top-five collegiate finishes, including a win by Annie LeHardy in the women's 1,500.
"The first day of the Raleigh Relays went well for the team," said head coach Harlis Meaders after the first day, "It was a long day on the track but we finished and we're ready for tomorrow's competition."
LeHardy won the second section of the women's 1,500 with a personal best 4:26.01. The time was over five seconds better than her previous low mark.
Steve Magnuson placed second in his section of the 3,000-meter steeplechase as he smashed his previous PR by nearly 20 seconds, finishing the race in 8:57.29.
Matthew Valeriani and Scott Morgan each earned personal best sub-30 minute times in the men's 10,000. Valeriani was the fourth-best collegian in the event at 29:42.25 and Morgan was the fifth-best at 29:58.16.
"Matt and Scott running sub-30 in the 10K was a big thing for the team," said Coach Meaders, "We are very proud of their effort and what the distance program is doing for our team."
RJ Alowonle won his heat and will advance to the final of the 110-meter hurdles with his time of 14.56. He ranks sixth heading into the final and is the fourth-best collegian in the event.
"The hurdles corps for our team is young but they have showed a lot of improvement from their start last week," said Coach Meaders, "We're happy for RJ making tomorrow' final and know he's going to do great things for the team in the future."
Sarah Howard placed third overall in the women' shot put with a hurl of 50-1 ¾ (15.28 meters) followed by a second-place finish in her flight for the discus reaching 142-3 (43.37 meters).
AJ Hicks placed third in the men's discus with a distance of 172-4 (52.52 meters), and later placed sixth in the shot put as he reached 52-9 ½ (16.09 meters) behind Chris DiLorenzo, who placed fifth in the same event with a throw of 54-10 (16.71 meters).
"Sarah was consistent today and Kayla showed notable improvement in the shot put," said Coach Meaders, "AJ had an all-time collegiate best throw and is doing great things to help our throwers."
In the women's long jump, Jacinda Evans placed second as she leapt 20-6 ½ (6.26 meters) followed by Chrishawn Williams in fourth at 19-8 ¾ (6.01 meters) and Tory Kemp in seventh at 17-10 ¼ (5.44 meters).
"Jacinda placing second in the long jump after having to sit out the indoor season is great for us," said Coach Meaders, "She's put in a lot of work getting ready for this outdoor season and her return to the uniform adds another very good jumper and potential NCAA qualifier to the team alongside our indoor All-America Chrishawn."
Ariel Roberts shared a three-way tie for sixth as she cleared 5-7 (1.70 meters) in the women's high jump.
"Notable technical improvements were made today by many of our student-athletes, including some PRs, that will pay off down the road," said Coach Meaders, "We're looking forward to what day two will bring and more strides this team can make."
The Tar Heels will finish competition at the Raleigh Relays on Saturday with the meet's first events beginning at 9:30 a.m. Live Results are available.