Taryn Parks Signs With UNC

One of the top distance runners in Pennsylvania state history, Taryn Parks, has picked the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

The Greencastle-Antrim senior, who has racked up state championships and run some of the fastest times PA has ever seen, will join the Tar Heels in the fall. Parks chose UNC over Stanford, Georgetown, NC State, and Washington.

Parks' initial top school was Stanford University, but when coach Chris Miltenberg left the Cardinal for UNC over the summer, Parks shifted her focus to the Tar Heels.

"Back in the spring, I took my first official (visit) to Stanford and I was like, 'OK, I think I want to go to this school,' but then the coaching change over the summer really threw me for a spin," Parks said after her announced at Greencastle-Antrim on Monday night.

Coach Miltenberg was a major factor in Parks' decision to choose UNC. Parks said he contacted her after the switch and that got the ball rolling.

"I really liked the coaches, I really liked the team, and the school was awesome," Parks added. "I just had that feeling that it was the right school."

Parks joins fellow PA state champion Patrick Anderson, who committed to UNC back in early October.

With still an indoor and outdoor track season to go, Parks has had a terrific career, becoming one of Pennsylvania's greatest prep distance runners ever.

She won three straight PIAA Class AAA state titles in the 1,600 meters. Last spring, Parks ran the second fastest 1,600 in state history, running 4:37.07 to beat Marlee Starliper in an historic PIAA final. That winter, Parks won the mile at New Balance Nationals Indoor in another great duel with Starliper, clocking a Pennsylvania state record of 4:39.05 for the victory. She also won 2019 PTFCA indoor state titles in the mile and 800 meters as a junior.

Parks' high school career started with a PIAA Class AA cross country state title. She won that crown as a freshman and then took third at XC states as a sophomore before placing second to Starliper at the state meet each of the last two years. Parks holds a 5K PR of 17:40. She is a three-time Foot Locker Nationals qualifier and later this month will look to become the first girl since 2014 to make the national meet in San Diego all four years of her high school career.

All told, Parks has won six Pennsylvania state titles in her career. She feels she has even more room to improve as a runner and felt UNC was the place to continue her career.

"The mentality they have down there -- they're not the best right now, but they're just really determined to get better and just keep improving every day and I think that was a similar mentality my coach is in high school, so it will be an easy transition."