Morgan Ilse, Carolina Alcorta photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications
With the ACC Championships looming for UNC Cross Country Friday, here is a look back at what has happened in their previous two meets.
On September 30th the teams took on the Louisville Classic. This large invitational meet saw the men’s team taking 17th place overall out of 30 teams. They were led by sophomore Jeremy Brown in 72nd place in 24:50 on the 8k course. He was joined in the top 5 by redshirt junior Logan Carroll in 90th, sophomore Mark Meyers in 122nd, sophomore Matt Thornton in 129th, and redshirt freshman Mitch Resor in 135th.
The Louisville Classic also saw the women’s team taking 14th place out of 37 teams competing in a star studded field led by Boise State standout Allie Ostrander. The Tar Heels were led by Morgan Ilse with a huge top-10 finish placing 9th in 16:51 over 5 kilometers. Ilse was joined by senior Caroline Alcorta in 33rd, sophomore Maddy Clahane in 102nd, sophomore Erin Edmundson in 121st, and redshirt-junior Emma Astrike-Davis.
Next, on October 13th the Tar Heels travelled to Penn State for the Penn State National. The meet was a big one for the Tar Heel women. The team finished 9th overall out of 17 teams and were led by career days by Alcorta and Ilse in 4th and 5th places respectively. The pair finished only five and eight seconds behind eventual winner Bella Burda of Villanova. For her efforts, Alcorta was named ACC Performer of the Week. Joining the pair in the top five on the team was Clahane in 58th scoring position, Edmundson in 75th, andDodge in 91st.
The men’s team also finished 9th out of 12 teams on the day. The men were led again by Brown in 30th place, finishing in 26:11 over 5.2 miles. He was followed by Matt Thornton in 36th, sophomore Meyers in 41st, Resor in 59th, and Carroll in 62nd.
Now, looking forward to the ACC Championship Meet this weekend on the women’s side. Do not be surprised to see further breakout performances by Ilse and Alcorta, who could be in store for huge days if they keep running as they have been. With good days the pair could be in contention for top 10 finishes, if not better. Outside of that pair the Heels will look for further improvements from the likes of Clahane, Edmundson, Dodge and Astrike-Davis. If Clahane continues her strong improvements and plays her cards right she could very well find herself in contention for an All-ACC performance on the day.
On the men’s side, look for Brown to continue the consistency he has shown in the last several meets. Look for a resurgence from Carroll and for Resor to try to get back to his early season successes. Sophomores Thornton and Mark Meyers will also look to have successful days as it is not out of the realm of possibility for any of these five to make a run at All-ACC performances.
Friday, the Tar Heels will look to have team successes and individual successes, but the teams will also make strides in showing what’s in store for the future. The way things have been going, both teams could be looking at very successful days at the ACC Championships.