North Carolina miler Isaac Presson hadn’t planned to compete in the 3,000-meter run. He was inexperienced and unseeded in the event, and his legs had tired after taking third place in the mile just hours earlier.
But none of that mattered. The UNC men were still in contention for the ACC indoor track and field crown, and only two events remained. Every point counted.
“I talked to coach (Harlis Meaders), and I told him I had a little left in the tank,” Presson said. “(Coach) said, ‘Give the 3K a go and see if you can score some points for the team.’ And I ended up doing much better than I expected.”
Presson, in fact, did much better than anyone expected. Eclipsing his personal best by nearly 20 seconds, Presson became the ACC 3,000-meter champion with a time of 8:15.20. More importantly to Presson, the 10 points he earned helped the UNC men secure second place in the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Clemson, S.C.
The result, like Presson’s win, was an upset — the unranked Tar Heels topped No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 19 Pittsburgh, falling behind only seventh-ranked Florida State. The UNC women, on the other hand, finished seventh in the ACC championships despite entering the competition at No. 12 in the national rankings.