His teammates felt similarly.
“We’re pretty disappointed with the overall results,” junior Isaac Presson said. “We thought that we were in better shape than to get sixth place.”
The runners started off cautiously, and Schellberg was the only one who stayed with the lead pack for the entire race.
Sophomore Ryan Walling was the closest UNC runner to Schellberg. He finished 16th.
“We went out pretty conservative,” Schellberg said. “I felt like I stayed tough throughout the whole race.”
There were a number of reasons for the other Tar Heels’ subpar times — nagging injuries and a hilly course — but preparation wasn’t one of them.
Sophomore Jack Driggs said UNC has been running well in workouts, and the team had a solid two weeks of training leading up to the meet.
“Mentally some of our guys were out of it,” Driggs said. “Training’s been going great. We put it on ourselves — we should’ve done a better job.”
The runner who didn’t have a strong training period, ironically, was Schellberg.
He’s been finishing eighth during the team’s workouts, and he’s still on the mend from an early-season injury.
“I think he’d be the first to admit that even in practice he’s been struggling,” Presson said. “He’s just such a talented runner.”
One of the strategies UNC hoped to incorporate this season was “pack-running” — racing with clusters of teammates.
Saturday, the Tar Heels didn’t find that consistency. The next-closest UNC runner after Walling was John Raneri in 38th place, followed by Presson in 42nd and freshman Mark Derrick in 49th.
“We need to pack it up and learn how to run with each other,” Driggs said, “and be aggressive.”
But for all the disappointment, UNC can look at the 2012 ACC Championships as the race in which Schellberg surprised the conference and the team.
“It was huge for Pat,” Presson said. “He told me afterwards that that’s the first ACC meet he’s left satisfied with.”
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