RALEIGH, N.C. - The University of North Carolina track and field teams finished the Raleigh Relays today and swept the 800-meter events. Cory Nicholls set the tone with a first place finish in the men's 800 and Lizzy Whelan followed suit with a win herself. The two student-athletes had to run in a mist that hovered over Raleigh for most of the day.
"It's the second meet of the season and I think we're starting to see the marks come around," North Carolina head coach Harlis Meaders said. "I think we're still trying to work out some of the bugs, though."
Meaders said that the weather wasn't optimal but you have to go with what the weather is. He also stated that the drizzling rain might help distance runner but at the same time it makes field events more difficult.
Whelan not only won in the 800 but she also put up the fastest collegiate time this season at 2:06.76, just a little slower than her personal record. Whelan was sitting around fifth in her heat before she had a huge kick that started in the last 200 meters that propelled her to first.
"Lizzy ran great today," Meaders said. "We saw her do really well in indoors and she came out and ran the fastest time in the nation today."
Cory Nicholls was the first Tar Heel to claim a victory at the Raleigh Relays. The true freshman ran for a new PR in the 800 timing in at 1:49.80. His time ranks tied for sixth in the nation at the 800. Nicholls was dead last for most of the race but made up most of his time in the second 400. On the backstretch of the 400 Nicholls looked as though he was shot out of cannon and went from eighth to first in just 300 meters.
"Cory is a true freshman and we were happy to recruit him to North Carolina," Meaders said. "It was really good to see him break 1:50 in the 800 and that's what we knew he was capable of when we recruited him."
Tristine Johnson was able to come away with a second-place finish in the triple jump. Johnson jumped her way into the finals of the invitational triple jump. Though she only had two clean jumps she comes away in second with a farthest jump of 41-1 (12.52 meters).
In the men's 400-meter hurdles, North Carolina has a lot of depth. RJ Alowonle, Javonte Lipsey, and Roy Smith all competed and placed in the top 15. Alowonle finished fifth at 51.35 while Lipsey took sixth at 51.67. Smith came in 14th with a time of 52.95.
The Tar Heels will compete next week in the Florida Relays, Cardinal Invitational and the Vert Klasse Track at High Point. Each meet begins on Friday, April 4 and will conclude on Saturday, April 5. A recap of performances and results will be on Goheels.com at the conclusion of each day.