Assistant coach Josh Langley said he was excited for Walker’s success, especially as she has fought injuries to her Achilles tendon and hamstring.
“She’s been a little frustrated with some of her performances,” Langley said. “But to see her finally put together some good races, some quality performances, that makes you really happy for a senior, for sure.”
The Tar Heels also added victories in four other events. Zoey Russell won the women’s 400-meter dash, Sandi Morris cleared the highest bar in the women’s pole vault and Ashley Verplank finished first in the 1500-meter race while the men’s 4×400-meter team took first place, posting its best time of the season.
“We definitely were competitive, and you want to see that the week before ACC’s,” Langley said. “You want to see the competitive fire in your athletes, battling for the top places and I think we saw that today so I’m pretty excited.”
As most of the team used the meet as preparation for next week’s ACC Championships, the team was particularly careful to stay healthy.
“It was just one of those meets that we wanted to get through and not get anybody hurt,” head coach Dennis Craddock said.
Parsons added he is approaching his last meet as a Tar Heel with mixed feelings.
“I’m looking forward to going out big in my last meet, but at the same time, it is a little bit sad that this will be my last ACCs.”
Behind the energetic meet atmosphere, a subtle sentimentality could also be sensed as Craddock, who will retire after coaching the North Carolina track and field team for 27 years, was honored.
“I’m sad to see him go especially because it’s my last year, and it’s going to be weird coming back as an alumni,” Parsons said. “I’m not going see him in the head coaching office. It’s going to be someone completely different. So that’s kind of eerie to me.”
But while it is hard to ignore the stark change slated for next year, Craddock remains focused on finishing the season strong.
“If everybody just comes out and does their work, then we can stay in the top three in the ACC,” he said. “If you can be in that upper division, then maybe you can win.”
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