Current Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 08:44:37 -0500
When the North Carolina women’s tennis team went to sleep early Thursday night in Boston, they were just preparing for a match Friday against Boston College.
They woke up alarmed and shocked with the news from their coach, Brian Kalbas, that the hotel was on lockdown. Kalbas said his supervisor Clint Gwaltney called him around 6:30 Friday morning with the news.
Last night, two suspects from the Boston Marathon bombings shot and killed an MIT police officer and hijacked a car. The suspects are brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Law enforcement shot and killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but officials are still currently hunting down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“We all went to bed early, so none of us heard about it until this morning,” sophomore Caroline Price said. “It was pretty scary, but we feel pretty safe as long as we’re inside.”
To pass the time, Price said the team ate breakfast and lunch together, worked on homework and watched the movie Safe Haven.
“We can’t let it affect us too much,” Price said. “We’re trying to continue doing schoolwork, but it’s always in the back of your head.”
The team is currently waiting in Newton, Mass., which senior Lauren McHale said was about a mile away from Watertown, where police conducted extensive searches Friday morning.
“We are on lockdown still, so it’s scary, but luckily we are OK,” McHale said. “I just want to leave and go back to Chapel Hill.”
After the Boston marathon bombings on Monday, members of the team fielded many questions about the trip to Boston College.
“Last week people kept coming up to us asking, ‘Are you still going to Boston?’” Price said. “We’re like, ‘Oh yeah, hopefully, it’ll be cleared up by then.’ And then last night, we were talking in the elevator, and we saw a guy we thought worked for the FBI. We didn’t really think it was as big of a deal as it is.”
Kalbas said he wasn’t even sure if the trip would happen after the bombings.
“It’s surreal to where all of a sudden things can change, and you’re not as safe as you thought you were,” Kalbas said.
When the team arrived in Boston, Kalbas said they drove past the site of the Boston marathon bombings on Boylston Street.
“We saw a tremendous amount of security with rifles and heavy artillery,” Kalbas said. “You could tell there was a heightened awareness with everything going on, and this was before everything last night.”
Price compared the scene to a construction site when asked to describe Boylston Street.
“It wasn’t your average road,” Price said. “There were a lot of cops, and I guess SWAT teams and government people.”
By mid-afternoon Friday, Price said she and her teammates felt a lot better than when they woke up.
“When we woke up, we had texts from family members and friends, and we were a little freaked out because we didn’t understand what was going on,” Price said. “But we’re pretty calmed down at this point.”
Kalbas said his initial reaction was just to protect himself and the team.
“We are trying to make sure all our players are safe and letting their parents know they’re safe,” Kalbas said.
The Tar Heels plan to leave tomorrow for their match against Maryland on Sunday. McHale and Price both said they think the Maryland match will be good to help get their minds off the Boston situation.
Regarding the match against the Eagles, Kalbas said he doesn’t know whether it will be rescheduled or not.
“We’re trying to see how it affects us with ACC seeding,” Kalbas said. “We’re trying to get in touch with the ACC commissioner. At this point in time, we haven’t rescheduled it.”