UNC track and ?eld making strides after meet at Virginia Tech

First-year North Carolina track and field coach Harlis Meaders saw his squad make steps toward becoming what he calls “a better blue” after an impressive performance this weekend at the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech.

In its first away meet of the season, the Tar Heel men’s squad came through with three first-place finishes, a pair of second-place titles and a third-place finish.

The women’s squad was even more impressive with four first-place victories, three second-place finishes and two third-place pickups.

Meaders, a 1992 UNC graduate who spent 18 years working his way up the ranks to associate head coach at Florida State, said he was pleased with the results.

“I think overall the meet went very well” he said. “I’m fairly confident after this second meet of the year, we’ve continued to take strides in the right direction.”

Meaders said he hopes to bring North Carolina track and field back to ACC prominence.

“I’m a part of a generation in the mid ‘90s where Carolina performed real well in the track and field scene, and I’d like to get us back to that level,” he said. “It’s going to be a process.”

Leading the way for the Tar Heels was senior Chadd Pierce, who took home first place in the pole vault as well as a personal best in the 600 meter.

With the ACC Championships a little less than a month away, Meaders said he believes the North Carolina team has the potential to improve and succeed in a tough conference.

“I think we’re moving forward in the right direction, and we just need to continue to get better each week,” he said. “The ACC’s going to continue to be tough, but I think we can be among the top teams.”

“We’ve got to continue to work hard as a team if we want to make a true chase for a championship.”

Pierce and junior distance runner Patrick Schellberg said they hope for even better results when the Tar Heels return to Blacksburg for the ACC Championships, and they see this past weekend as a solid starting point.

“We put up some good numbers. We put up a good fight as a team, and we fought for a better blue,” said Pierce.

Schellberg, who won the 3,000 meter race, said he thinks North Carolina can be a top-three team and turn some heads that hadn’t previously thought of the Tar Heels as contenders in the conference.

The team will return to the pursuit of that “better blue” this weekend at home, and Meaders said he doesn’t see his group slowing down anytime soon.

“I really believe that in the next couple years you’ll see us rise to the top,” he said.

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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