It started with bridging the gap between disciplines, creating a close-knit group that boasts standout performers whom Meaders believes will thrive this weekend.
“He’s done a lot to just make it more of a family atmosphere on the team,” said senior sprinter Clayton Parros. “Not that we were lacking that before, but I feel like the bond on the team is a lot stronger than it has been in the past.”
Parros, who was a member of the ACC champion 4×400 relay team in 2012, said he’s poised to author one of the “top performances” this weekend.
He joins a litany of several Tar Heel hopefuls, including sophomore pole vaulter Cameron Overstreet, who won her event at last weekend’s Joe Hilton Invitational. Five other athletes placed first alongside Overstreet, and seven recorded personal bests.
Junior distance runner Isaac Presson, fresh off his win in the Hilton Invitational’s McAfee Mile, will also look to pace UNC in Raleigh, where N.C. State will serve as host.
“I feel like we’re prepared for the conference level of competition,” Meaders said. “I think we can walk out of the ACC meet with multiple individual championships.”
And, as he intended, Meaders’ conviction has infected his team.
“I think we’re going to rise to the occasion to get us to where we all want to be, and get us to where (Meaders) wants us to be,” Overstreet said. “We’re already stepping in the right direction.”
For Parros, unifying the different parts of the large team laid the groundwork for a successful — and enjoyable — season. It’s a familial identity that he says will endure long after he graduates this May.
But today, Parros said, it’s time for his team to achieve the bolder, more assertive philosophy that Meaders has preached.
“I think we’ve put ourselves in good position … to rise to the call, kind of stand up and get a chance to show people the new Carolina and what to expect for the future,” Parros said.
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