Parker Wolfe runs to national title

The Carolina junior won the 5,000-meter final at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, marking the Tar Heels' first title at the event since 2007.

Parker Wolfe crossing the finish line on a track in the 5000m championship.
Wolfe's victory in the 5,000 meters gave the Tar Heels their first outdoor track and field national championship since 2007. (Photo Courtesy of David Hicks)

Parker Wolfe concluded an accolades-filled junior season with his biggest one yet Friday night at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships: a national title.

Wolfe claimed the men’s 5,000-meter championship with a time of 13 minutes, 54.43 seconds at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Now an eight-time All-American, Wolfe flipped the script from this year’s NCAA indoor championships at which he finished runner-up to Northern Arizona’s Nico Young in both the 5,000 and 3,000. This time, Wolfe crossed the finish line first with Young behind him in second.

During the 2023-2024 cross country and track and field seasons, Wolfe won five ACC championships, going undefeated. He led the Tar Heels to two team ACC championships, individually set four new school records, earned four first-team All-America honors and capped it all off with a national championship.

Wolfe is the first Tar Heel to win the 5,000, marking the seventh event championship at the NCAA outdoor championships in school history. He also became the first overall event champion since Justin Ryncavage, who won in javelin in 2007. Wolfe’s victory represents the first outdoor track event championship since the 1996 4×100 relay and the first solo men’s track event championship since Bill Albans’ win in the 200 in 1950.

Junior Ethan Strand earned first-team All-America honors in the men’s 1500, finishing ninth with a time of 3:40.90.

The Tar Heels wrapped up the week with five All-Americans. Along with Strand and Wolfe, Craig Saddler, Alex Phillip, and Makayla Paige all earned second-team honors.

NCAA championships (June 5-8)

Wednesday, June 5

Men’s 1500 semifinal

15. Ethan Strand, 3:39.93

Men’s 400 hurdles semifinal

12. Craig Saddler II, 50.15

Men’s 10,000 semifinal

12. Alex Phillip, 28:21.16

Thursday, June 6

Women’s 800 semifinal

14. Makayla Paige, 2:02.25

Friday, June 7

Men’s 1,500 final

9. Ethan Strand, 3:40.90

Men’s 5000 final

1. Parker Wolfe, 13:54.43