RALEIGH, N.C. - The University of North Carolina track and field program concluded the Raleigh Relays on Saturday afternoon with more team improvements, personal bests, and top-ranked finishes.
O'Neal Wanliss won the men's 800 in 1:49.51 for his second straight victory in the event this season. In the women's 800, Elizabeth Whelan and Marisa Dobbins each earned personal bests with Whelan running in 2:08.85 and Dobbins in 2:09.39.
"It was another solid day in Raleigh for us as a team," said head coach Harlis Meaders, "The 800 was really a highlight for us with a season-best and win for O'Neal and two good PRs for our ladies in Elizabeth and Marisa. We're very happy for them and it's a great start to the season on the track."
Adding another first-place finish on the weekend for Carolina, Cameron Overstreet won in the women's pole vault, clearing a height of 13-3 ½ (4.05 meters) as her highest of the outdoor season so far.
"Cameron got a good start, and really a continuation for her season," said Coach Meaders, "She will vault next week at Florida so she will be ready to face some excellent competition down there."
"The long hurdles are running a little bit better than last week," said Coach Meaders, "The first seven hurdles are going great for them but they will definitely be improving their finishes."
Tristine Johnson placed third in her flight and overall in the women's triple jump as she reached 40-9 ½ (12.43 meters). Daisaun White placed second in his flight and eighth overall in the men's triple jump as he went 47-2 ½ (14.39 meters).
AJ Hicks earned another personal best in the long throws on Saturday with his hammer throw of 184-7 (56.26 meters), good for seventh place. Avana Story placed fifth in the women's hammer throw hurling 178-10 (54.50 meters).
"AJ is showing more consistency and we're really proud he's been able to improve his career marks so early on," said Coach Meaders, "He's putting himself in really good position for the conference championships and to be one of the better throwers in the ACC.
"Avana made her outdoor collegiate debut today with a solid opening mark," added Coach Meaders, "She will be competing at Florida which I think will be a great test for her so early in her career."
"The men's 4x4 were in a slower section and I definitely think that hurt them," said Coach Meaders, "Had they been in the first heat of the relays I think they could have better demonstrated what they are capable of doing and pushed for a faster time.
"All of our relays had some very promising splits and will be good for us as the season goes on, especially in the lead-off legs," added Coach Meaders.
Late Friday evening on the west coast at the Stanford Invitational, Lianne Farber ran a personal best in the women's 5,000 in 16:07.04. Also running for the Tar Heels in Palo Alto, Calif., were Isaac Presson, who placed sixth in the men's 1,500 in 3:44.25, and John Raneri, who ran a sub-30 minute 10,000 to finish in a personal best 29:48.19.
"I think the team is starting to come together," said Coach Meaders, "We will have a ways to go but have had a lot of solid performances over these two days against the best competition we've seen thus far."
The Tar Heels will next compete at the Duke Relays in Durham, N.C., as well as send several student-athletes to compete at the elite Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., on April 5-6.
"Florida will definitely give us some tough competition," said Coach Meaders, "But we'll have a good showing at Duke as well as we prepare for the conference championships that will be here before you know it."