CARY, N.C. - The University of North Carolina men's and women's cross country teams each placed second at the adidas XC Challenge at WakeMed Park on Friday evening with sophomore Lianne Farber winning the women's race in 17:00.5.
"Obviously Lianne's performance of nearly shattering the 17-minute mark and getting a top time here at WakeMed [was a highlight for us]," head coach Mark VanAlstyne said after the race. "She still held on to run the number-two fastest time ever here. Had she been a little more conservative in the early going I really think she could have gone under 16 minutes and you've got to give her a lot of respect for what she did today."
Farber earned one of the top all-time marks at the course for a collegiate 5K pacing to her first win as a Tar Heel. Sophomore Annie LeHardy finished fifth for Carolina, running in 17:18.8 for a new 5K personal best. Sophomores Kylie McCoy and Sami Jorgensen placed 11th and 13th, respectively, in new PR's of 17:39.9 and 17:45.6, correspondingly. Sophomore Karley Rempel (PR 18:00.4) and junior Mali Cali (PR 18:10.5) finished back-to-back in the 16th and 17th spots. Freshmen Aundrea Holmes and Caroline O'Hea closed out the Tar Heel women's finishers, running in 19:13.5 and 19:51.8, respectively, for new 5K personal bests as well.
"Our top five had personal bests today and you can't ask for much more than that," adds Coach VanAlstyne of the women's performance, "We're going to add a few more top runners into the mix when we go to ND in 2 weeks and really look for some good performances there."
Sophomore Jack Driggs placed seventh to lead the men's team, running the 5K in 15:08.0. Close behind Driggs was freshman Stephen Mulherin in his second race wearing Carolina blue, finishing ninth for the second consecutive race. Mulherin ran the loop in 15:08.5. In 10th at 15:16.2 was junior Isaac Presson in his first outing for Carolina in 2012 immediately followed by freshman Mark Derrick in 11th at 15:18.3. Sophomore Braedon Koerwitz placed 20th, running in 15:47.8, as freshman Macon Gambill placed 23rd in 15:56.4. Freshman Richard Miller closed out the Tar Heel men's side of the race running his 5K in 16:24.6.
"It looked like a really controlled effort by all our men and honestly that's all I want at this time of the year," says Coach VanAlstyne, "There are bigger fish to fry ahead of us so we don't want to show all our cards, we held out a few of our top guys today. We're certainly able to rely on some of the younger athletes to lead us. If the guys that ran today are any indication of the kind of depth that we are going to have, I'm very pleased."
The women scored 35 points behind NC State's 24-point first-place finish. The men scored 48 points behind NC State's 15-point first-place finish. East Carolina placed third to round out the top three teams on both sides.
"We are pretty pleased with today's race," Coach VanAlstyne adds, "The objective coming out was to continue to evaluate some of our young talent. See how they respond to the competition that NC State presented us. I was very happy with that up front."
Carolina is back in action in two weeks as they head to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28th.