For the North Carolina gymnastics team, Sunday’s meet against N.C. State was a warm homecoming.
After opening the season on the road for more than 10 years, the Tar Heels started the season off strong before an excited Carmichael Arena, edging the Wolfpack 194.075-193.950.
The Tar Heels, who were projected to finish third in the Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League preseason coaches’ poll, went into the meet hoping to prove themselves. And coming off of a fifth-place finish in last season’s conference championship meet, UNC wanted to establish themselves as contenders early.
“It’s actually the highest first meet score we’ve ever gotten, so it’s the way we wanted to start off,” coach Derek Galvin said. “We were hoping to make a statement in the first meet so that when we go to the subsequent meets, the judges give us the benefit of the doubt. So now the word is out, this team has got some talent, we’ve got some skill and the execution will continue to improve as the season goes on.”
After building an early lead in vault and uneven bars, North Carolina had to come from behind in vault and floor exercise to beat its in-state rivals. Galvin attributed his team’s late struggles to a loss of focus after getting off to a good start in the meet.