Track, Tennis Athletes From UNC Land NCAA Titles, All-America Honors

Carolina’s baseball team may command a lot of attention, but six Olympic-sport athletes are making headlines of their own this summer.

This month, Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long were named 2007 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Doubles Team of the Year. They are the second duo not from a Pac-10 school to win the award, and both have been ITA All-Americans in doubles the past two years.

Anundsen and Long, natives of Colorado and California, respectively, captured the NCAA tennis doubles crown in Athens, Ga., on May 28. The senior pair, who went 29-6 on the season and finished No. 1 in the Fila rankings, came from behind to upset William and Mary’s top-seeded tandem in three sets. It is the first women’s tennis title in Tar Heel history.

Long was also named a UNC Carlyle Cup MVP for her outstanding performance in the Duke-UNC rivalry. She and Anundsen are two of the three Carolina female athletes to win a national championship in the past month.

The other champion is UNC sophomore Brie Felnagle, who won the title in the women’s 1,500 meters Saturday at the NCAA outdoor championships with a scorching time of 4 minutes, 9.93 seconds. Felnagle’s time set a new school record, topping the 4:11.60 mark set by Shalane Flanagan ’05 in 2003. Felnagle also recorded this year’s fastest clocking in the nation at the event, held at Hornet Stadium on the grounds of Sacramento State.

Felnagle, a native of Tacoma, Wash., finished ahead of Florida State’s Susan Kuijken (4:11.34) and Stanford’s Arianna Lambie (4:12.29). Felnagle trailed Lambie until the final 400 meters when she made her move and blew past Stanford’s six-time All-American senior. Felnagle used a strong finishing kick to seal the victory.

Record-setting wins are familiar to Felnagle, who already was part of a national championship and American record-setting performance in the distance medley relay during the indoor season. Felnagle joins Flanagan as the only women in UNC history to earn All-America honors in cross country, indoor 3,000 meters and outdoor 1,500 meters in the same school year.

The Carolina men also made some noise this month, as three members of the men’s track team earned All-America honors in Sacramento. Justin Ryncage won his second straight national championship in javelin and became the first male athlete in program history to win two national titles in the same event. His teammate, Adam Montague, was runner-up in the javelin, and Nick Owens placed second in the hammer throw. The three high finishes helped the Heels place sixth overall, their best mark at the championships in over a decade.

In Division I track and field, the top eight finishers in each event at the championships are eligible for All-America status.

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