The University of National Champions, if you couldn’t tell from the nickname, is no stranger to NCAA success or even domination. The 2009 Men’s Basketball National Championship team has the second largest average margin of victory in NCAA Tournament games in the history of the tournament. The Women’s Soccer program has won 22 of 36 NCAA Championships in the sport. Last year, the Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams combined to earn the school two NCAA titles in as many days. So you’d think that Tar Heel fans had seen it all, that no stretch of dominance would be unprecedented at this point.
Then stuff like this past Sunday happens, and we’re reminded why sports are fun. The men’s baseball team, women’s lacrosse team, and several members of the track & field team all dominated their competition and put their names into UNC record books while doing it.
Men’s baseball, after struggling relative to their usual performance in the first two games against Virginia Tech, came out swinging on Sunday en route to a 20-0 rout, the biggest shutout against an ACC opponent in program history. Virginia Tech is 22-28 on the season, so they’re not great, but they’re certainly dangerous, having beaten then-#1 ranked Florida State in a three-game series and having two of the ACC’s best hitters on their roster.
This margin would be nothing to sneeze at in any context, but the opponent certainly doesn’t hurt. Even more impressive, it was a first-time starter, Taylor Sugg, who opened up the proceedings. Additionally, the Heels have now tied the program record for most ACC series won in a season with the rivalry series against Duke still to come. The Diamond Heels have been having a superlative season all around, but this weekend was especially extraordinary.
Women’s lacrosse, having made it to the NCAA Tournament, demolished UVA 23-12 on Sunday. The 23 goals were UNC’s most in any NCAA Tournament game, and the most UNC had scored in any game this season (breaking the previous season high of 21, set against... Virginia). In fact, the Heels’ previous average goals scored in a game was 15.6 (standard deviation 2.6), placing this offensive performance in the top 1% of performances that could have been expected from these Heels.
Doing it against an NCAA Tournament opponent is extremely noteworthy. It does look kind of bad that UVA has been on the receiving end of both of UNC’s highest scoring games, but they made the NCAA Tournament and several of UNC’s other opponents did not. The Heels have lost only two games all season and look to carry this momentum into a title defense.
And on the track and field side, the ACC Championship was on Sunday as well. The headliner of the event was hurdler Kenny Selmon, who ran a blistering 48.76-second 400m hurdles, his career best and the best time posted by any collegiate athlete this year. As if that wasn’t enough, it was the second-best time posted by ANY American athlete in 2017 and the 4th-best time recorded by anybody on the planet in the same time frame. It’s also UNC’s 2nd-fastest time ever. Here’s the video:
Selmon wasn’t the only Heel to win an ACC title at the event, however, as sprinter Ceo Ways, despite it only being his second race of the year, posted his best time in two years while winning the 400m sprint with a 45.55 second time, good for 15th in the nation this year. All that is fine on its own, but Ways did all this from the notorious 8th lane, making it downright jaw-dropping. The Heels will send both runners as well as several other team members to the NCAA Tournament, hoping they can maintain their success. Here is Ways’ video:
As several sports seasons wind down, we can only hope that Heels in all sports can continue this run of excellence. Go Heels!