Growing Pains and Growing Up

Growing Pains and Growing Up

2016 Caroline Alcorta photo courtesy UNC Athletic Communications

Friday morning’s ACC Championship meet went about as expected in the front of the men’s race with Justyn Knight taking over down the stretch to continue his massively successful college career with yet another accolade. This helped the Syracuse men run their way to a dominant 27-point team win. For the UNC men, if their goal was to race in a pack no matter what, then the day was a success. All of the top seven finished within a minute of one another, and three through six all finished within seven seconds of each other. But, the men did not place a single runner in the vicinity of All-ACC and the pack was well too far back to contend for a high finish. The team was led by sophomore Jeremy Brown in 50th place in 24:35.4. Brown was joined by redshirt junior Logan Carroll in 64th, first-year Jake McEneaney in 67th, redshirt first-year Mitch Resor in 77th, sophomore Matt Thornton in 78th, sophomore Mark Meyers in 79th, redshirt first-year Brodie Modini in 95th and first-year Luke Peterson in 109th. When all was said and done, the Tar Heel men brought home an 11th place finish at the conference championships.

These results should do nothing to deter the Heels, however. This is still a young team that has shown measurable growth this season. With the core of the team being underclassmen, look for continued growth not only looking toward NCAAs but also the next few years to come. The Tar Heels will return the top finishers from every one of their races on the season as well as a majority of their point-scorers on the season. Today may have been disappointing after talks of All-ACC performances and top five team finishes, but for the UNC men’s cross country team: the future is bright.

In the women’s 6k race, the pair of redshirt junior Caroline Alcorta and junior Morgan Ilse ran with the lead pack through one mile and after getting gapped closer to the midway point held on for very strong finishes. The race saw yet another Syracuse win with Paige Stoner taking the individual title. To no one’s surprise, the NC State women took home the team title with 43 points. But for the Tar Heels, the big story was the continued success of Ilse and Alcorta, who finished just out of the top ten in 11th and 12th place running 20:26.3 and 20:27.6, respectively. The finishes were good for All-ACC and should come as no surprise after the strong consistency shown by the pair in every race this season.This was the third All-ACC performance for Alcorta and the second for Ilse.

Following the lead pair of Tar Heels, sophomore Maddie Clahane ran a time of 21:56.9, good for 71st place. Clahane was followed shortly by sophomore Erin Edmundson in 73rd place, senior Casey Greenwalt in 88th, first-year Lindsey Lanier in 93rd, junior Emma Astrike-Davis in 97th, and first-year Ashley Smith and junior Blake Dodge in 114th and 115th places respectively. This was good for an 11th place finish for the team. The day went as expected for the UNC women with Alcorta and Ilse continuing their great seasons, and careers, and the rest of the young team continuing to grow together.

Next up for the Tar Heels will be NCAA Southeast Regional on November 10th. The meet in Charlottesville, Virginia will be another opportunity for growth for the teams, and an opportunity for Ilse and Alcorta to continue to cement their legacies in Carolina blue.