UNC Men’s Lacrosse Beats Duke

In another North Carolina – Duke clash, the No. 15 Tar Heels knocked off the ninth-ranked Blue Devils in an overtime thriller on Friday night.

UNC came away from Durham with a 17-16 win after Patrick Kelly scored the game-winning goal with two minutes remaining in the first overtime period.

The Carolina offensive attack was led by Steve Pontrello’s career-high six goals. Nine different Tar Heels found the back of the net against Duke.

This was the fourth consecutive game in the series to be decided by one goal.

UNC is now 1-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play and 6-4 overall. Duke fell to 7-5 overall and 1-1 in the ACC.

Carolina will be back in on the field on Sunday, April 10, hosting Virginia.


UNC Women’s Tennis Still Undefeated After Beating Duke

The third-ranked UNC women’s tennis team knocked off No. 10 Duke in Durham on Tuesday to remain undefeated in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Duke evened the score at 1-1 by taking the first singles match after UNC claimed the doubles point.

The top-ranked singles player in the country Hayley Carter then quickly gave the Tar Heels the lead once again; a lead UNC would not relinquish.

Freshman Chloe Ouellet-Piezer clinched the match with her victory on the way to a 4-1 win for the Tar Heels.

The win moves UNC to 20-2 on the season and 8-0 in ACC play. Duke is now 6-2 in conference play.

UNC will host Louisville in its next match at 11 o’clock Saturday morning.


UNC – Duke Square Off in Durham

UNC against Duke.

It’s a big game, no matter the sport.

The rivals will meet three times on the baseball field over the weekend as the Tar Heels get back into Atlantic Coast Conference play.

No. 6 North Carolina won two mid-week games against tough in-state opponents in No. 17 East Carolina and Elon on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The series against the Blue Devils will be played at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The Tar Heels are looking to continue its strong start to the season. Carolina enters the weekend series at 14-2. Duke is 10-7 so far this season and 1-2 in ACC play.

Game one of the series will get started at six o’clock Friday night with UNC ace Zac Gallen taking the mound against Duke’s Bailey Clark.

This is the first series that will be broadcasted on WCHL.


Three Local Students Named Gates Cambridge Scholars

UNC students Larry Han and Matthew Leming, along with Duke student Catherine Newman, have been named Gates Cambridge Scholars.

The scholarship was established by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and pays for 35 U.S. students to attend graduate school at Cambridge.

Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman (photo courtesy of gatescambridge.org).

“Larry and Matt are those rare students who quietly and without fanfare change the landscape of their professions,” said UNC chancellor Carol Folt. “They have already accomplished so much in their young careers in academia and are outstanding representatives for our campus and their community.”

Han and Lemming are UNC’s fourth and fifth Gates Cambridge Scholars.

Overall 826 U.S. students applied for the scholarship.

“Cat is a gifted scholar with a strong bent toward understanding biology through the eyes of a chemist, who also still manages her time so effectively that she is able to contribute to the local and world community in so many meaningful ways,” said Duke biochemistry chair Richard Brennan.


UNC and Duke Ready for Game 241 in Rivalry

Wednesday marks the rekindling of one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

For the 241st time in history, UNC and Duke will face off in the most-heated rivalry in college basketball.

Carolina holds a 133-107 all-time lead in the previous 240 matchups.

But if the fifth-ranked Tar Heels are going to be able to get a victory over the number 20 Duke Blue Devils in the Smith Center on Wednesday night, head coach Roy Williams says it will be important that Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks are able to match up with talented Duke wings Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen.

“Brice and Isaiah have to be able to get out on the floor and play the guys and get a hand up on the shot and still be able to play the drive and not get beat on a direct cut,” Williams says. “If you get beat, make them make a banana cut – that kind of motion – then you’ve got an opportunity to get some help for you.”

Williams adds that while it may be difficult for the Tar Heels to match up with the smaller Blue Devil lineup, Duke will have to defend in the post as well.

“We’ve got to do a nice job and make sure that those guys get low position so they can use their size as an advantage when we’re bigger than the other guy and trying to play inside,” Williams says. “It is something that’s been important to us, and we’ve struggled with several times the last couple of years.

“Hopefully we’re better at it now.”

Few people have been directly part of as many Carolina-Duke games as Eric Montross has, first as a player and now as a color commentator for the Tar Heel Sports Network. Montross spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about the emotions leading up to a game like this.


Both Carolina and Duke have endured an up-and-down season. The Tar Heels came into the season as the preseason number one team in the country, while the Blue Devils were coming off of a national championship.

But both teams have endured several stretches of less-than-stellar play on the season. Duke even dropped out of the top 25 rankings for the first time in more than eight years in early February.

But with both teams trending in the right direction, Williams says this rivalry has not lost any of its luster.

“It’s still a fantastic rivalry around here, and that’s all we know,” Williams says. “And I think the other people around the country enjoy it too.”

Williams says the intensity of this game is always there, regardless of what has happened with each team leading up to tipoff.

“2011 – 2012 we were really good and at times the last couple of years we haven’t been very good, but still we try to play and try to make sure it comes down to the end,” Williams says. “Last year, in two games we had the lead in the second half of both of them, but we were not good enough to finish it and they were good enough to come from behind and win the game in both places.

“But it’s still a big-time game for us.”

Tipoff is set for nine o’clock and WCHL’s pregame coverage will begin with UNC Health Care Countdown to Tipoff at seven o’clock.


ACC Remembers Vicious Rasheed Wallace Dunk Against Duke

In case you needed a reminder, the biggest rivalry in college basketball – which many in this area would argue is the biggest rivalry in sports, period – will be rekindled on Wednesday when the Duke Blue Devils travel to Chapel Hill to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels, assuming there’s no inclement weather.

This game makes everyone feel a bit nostalgic, even those with the Atlantic Coast Conference Digital Network.

The ACCDN shared a video on Monday of a now-famous Rasheed Wallace dunk from the March, 1994, matchup between the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils in Durham.

UNC went on to win that game against Duke 87-77.

The Tar Heels are coming off of an 85-64 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, while the Blue Devils knocked off Virginia, in Cameron Indoor Stadium, on a last-second shot from Grayson Allen on Saturday.

The next chapter in the rivalry is set for nine o’clock Wednesday night in Chapel Hill. WCHL’s coverage will begin at seven o’clock with the UNC Health Care Countdown to Tipoff.


Burlington Man Lifeflighted to UNC Hospital After Crash

Burlington Police are investigating a single car accident over the weekend that led to the driver being lifeflighted.

Police say officers responded to the crash on Bland Boulevard just after 10 o’clock Saturday night after authorities say a 2003 Honda Civic had ran off the roadway and across a median before striking several trees.

Authorities say Fire and Emergency Services crews used extrication equipment to remove 36-year-old Ulises Antonio Ulloa-Jandres from the vehicle.

He was then transported by Duke Lifeflight to UNC Hospital for treatment, according to law enforcement.

Police say speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.

The accident is still under investigation.


Art’s Angle: Heaven Awaits

“Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door.” 

 –Bob Dylan

The refrain in Dylan’s 1973 masterpiece could apply to both teams playing football Saturday in Kenan Stadium, a game which by all measures could be a classic in its own right.

For Duke, it means an unwanted visitor crashing the party of a team on the way to its own version of Heaven, Blue Heaven, with a Coastal Division championship and shot at the ACC football title in Charlotte.

For Carolina, it means fulfilling the oft-stated and long-awaited goal of returning prominence to a program rich with promise but falling short on performance.

One team’s Heaven in this case will surely be the other team’s Hell.

The Blue Devils are coming off their own trip to Hades, the more-than-bizarre last six seconds against Miami that turned a sure seventh victory into their first ACC defeat of the season and makes Saturday a must win to keep alive playing for the ACC championship a second time in three years.

Duke, 6-2, had won a game it seemingly lost for about 57 minutes, despite 20 penalties committed by the Hurricanes who had their own week from hell with the firing of Coach Al Golden and the death of a player’s parent who was a godmother to the rest of the team. Then, aided by three pass interference penalties that all looked pretty bogus, the Blue Devils drove to the apparent winning score with six seconds left on the clock.

The ACC – in a ruling every bit as bizarre as Miami’s eight-lateral kickoff return that began at its own 25-yard line, retreated at one point to the 5 and then swept down the left sideline to the end zone – suspended the officiating and replay crews for blowing the management and communication of the last play more than any particular call they made.

Duke will be madder than hell while knocking on Blue Heaven’s door at high noon Saturday, another strange starting time for one of the biggest games of the season that deservedly belongs in the 3:30 or later TV slots. The annual Battle for the Bell (reclaimed with a sloppy and expensive paint job last year) will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

Kenan Stadium has its first sellout in years, but rest assured the lady in the pines won’t be full for kickoff. Traffic snarls caused by the early start, the threat of rain and the lethargic culture surrounding Carolina football will assure that. Good seats are going for more than $100 (twice face value), which isn’t exactly Duke-Carolina hoops fare but better than the 10-dollar ducats usually available outside both football stadia. With every ticket apparently sold, the old girl should be full and rocking at some point.

The Tar Heels, on the cusp of their greatest regular season in history, can open Heaven’s door by beating the Blue Devils for a second straight season (after two consecutive losses following a 21-1 run of dominance in the once-classic series) and then defeat Miami at home and struggling Virginia Tech and N.C. State on the road to post 11 regular-season wins for the first time in their 122 years of playing football. Not a given, by any means, but at least it’s all in their hands.

On paper, the game should resemble last season’s blowout at Wallace Wade Stadium more than Duke’s two straight wins that both went down to the last possession. UNC has the third-ranked offense in the country and Duke the supposed 10th rated defense. But with college coaches putting their best athletes on the scoring side of the ball these days, a good offense almost always beats a good defense. (Witness some of the numbers being put up every week.)

And the Tar Heels have a really good offense, despite naysayers looking at their schedule and crowing “prove it” against a good “D”.  Duke has that, for sure, holding opponents to 295 total yards per game. Carolina, on the other side, averages 37 points and 470 yards. So something’s gotta give, right?

UNC can take a quarter off (i.e., vs. Wake Forest) and still hang 50 points on the scoreboard. Twelve of its 35 touchdowns have come on plays longer than 20 yards, which means the No. 21-ranked Heels are snapping the ball fewer times than any team in the current top 25. Their 7.65 yards per play is third behind only unbeaten Baylor and TCU, which take turns ringing up 70 points.

The theory is that Duke’s methodical-but-efficient offense cannot outscore Carolina’s quick-strike, multi-weaponed attack, and that’s a sound theory. The Tar Heels will have to help Duke by making uncharacteristic mistakes and turning the ball over on their own end of the field. Duke is smart, well-coached and generally does not beat itself (except on a last-second kickoff that resembled a game of old intramural Carolina Tag).

You know all the players on UNC’s explosive offense and improved, opportunistic defense. For Duke, except for over-hyped linebacker Jeremy Cash, you may need a game program or listen closely to the radio or TV announcers. But the beauty of this 98th renewal is that both teams have, at least for the moment, built solid programs that already have gone 3-0 against preseason Coastal favorites Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, both frankly looking to be in decline.

Neither Tech is knocking on any door right now and, pretty much, playing out the 2015 string. In contrast, the team that finishes with the most points Saturday in Chapel Hill will feel like victory has been Heaven sent.


Duke Researchers Find Radioactive Contamination In Coal Ash

Coal ash, the waste generated by coal-fired power plants, is already known to contain environmental contaminants such as selenium, cadmium and arsenic. Now, researchers at Duke say it may also be radioactive.

“Radiation is another set of contaminants that needs to be considered when we are trying to weigh the impact of coal ash in the environment,” says Avner Vengosh, a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Vengosh and a team of researchers found radium isotopes and lead-210 in coal ash at levels five times higher than in normal soil.

He says this could pose a human health hazard if coal ash is not properly handled. Dry ashes can be easily inhaled. Wet coal ash can leak into ponds and rivers as happened in 2014 when tens of thousands of tons spilled into the Dan River.

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to begin regulating coal ash next month, but those regulations don’t yet include monitoring of radioactive materials. Vengosh says that needs to change.

“I think that naturally occurring radioactive materials should be part of an overall monitoring procedure to make sure that those contaminants that occur in coal ash indeed remain in coal ash, and not transferred or mobilized into drinking water or waterways around coal ash ponds or landfills.”

Duke Energy is preparing to move 20 million tons of coal ash from across the state to sites in Chatham and Lee Counties. Vengosh says he’d like to see increased transparency and monitoring to make sure that process is completed safely.

“The common sense answer is first, that all information is transparent and available, and second, that there is independent monitoring of what’s going on,” says Vengosh. “So I think if those two conditions are met, that we do know what’s happened and we can actually report that, then I would feel more secure about this process.”

More broadly, he notes that the energy industry as a whole is largely exempt from the Clean Water Act, leaving scientists in the dark when it comes to monitoring water quality and pollution.

“It’s a much larger issue of lack of regulation and lack of monitoring, and I think that kind of legacy is resulting in us waking up one day and seeing we have an issue or a problem someplace.”

The study was published September 2 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.


Researchers Use Smartphones To Track Flu on College Campuses

Katherine Heller is a statistician and assistant professor at Duke University. She and UNC epidemiologist Allison Aiello teamed up with researchers at the University of Michigan to see how a smartphone can help report and predict the spread of influenza on a college campus.

“This kind of data collection technique where we’re recording more data on a personalized level, on a more frequent basis, about people’s health, can be really beneficial in terms of the predictions that we’re going to be able to make or the advice that we’re going to be able to give people,” says Heller.

Using an Android app called iEpi, Heller and associates tracked the health and location data from 100 students at the University of Michigan over a 10-week period during flu season.

Students logged their symptoms on a weekly basis while their phones used GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies to monitor where they went and who they came in contact with.

Students also offered throat swabs for testing if their symptoms suggested they might have the flu. Taken together, these data made it possible to successfully predict who might get the disease next, and to offer iEpi app users a personalized daily health forecast.

Heller says this is part of a trend towards more individualized health care.

“Trying to record more individualized information about each person is really helping allow us to develop these kinds of algorithms where we can do prediction and recommendation about much more person-specific kinds of health advice.”

At the larger level, Heller says this kind of reporting could change how epidemiologists track the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases.

“This gives us much more insight into how disease is being communicated from one person to another, so something like an isolation intervention we might find is very effective in terms of trying to get some disease under control.”

Heller suggests it may prove useful for those with chronic health conditions as well.

“I think it also applies to a lot of other areas of medicine where we can potentially do a much better job if we’re tracking information about patients like diabetics or various other kinds of chronic diseases much more carefully and more continuously than we are currently. That will really aid physicians in being able to treat them.”

Flu season ramps up in October and runs through the spring. This year, one in five college students are expected to get the flu, and close living quarters can help fuel its spread. Officials say vaccination is the best protection.