The team’s first outdoor meet of the year, the Carolina Relays, will start Friday at 5 p.m. and last through the day Saturday at the Belk Track.
"It's our first meet of the year, so we're going into it optimistic, but it's really just a chance to get out and stretch our legs outside," said head track and field coach Harlis Meaders.
As the team preps for the meet, some team members view it as an opportunity to see where they stand after a long winter.
“I think our kids are anxious to compete outdoors,” said Meaders.
“The kids that haven’t had a chance to compete yet, the outdoor only events, discus throw, javelin throw, 400 meter hurdles, this will be their first attempt to do their primary event.”
The team is coming off a successful indoor season, during which the men's team placed second at the ACC Indoor Championships and sent 11 competitors to the NCAA Indoor National Championship.
“I think the kids that saw their teammates qualify for national championships, now they’re excited," Meaders said. "Hopefully we’ll have double that number by the time the outdoor championship rolls around in June."
Houston Summers, a sophomore javelin thrower, said the cross country and indoor track seasons set the bar high for the outdoor track season.
“We’re extremely excited,” he said. “We’re a stronger outdoor team. I really believe that we have a chance to win ACCs, and as a whole, it’s kind of sparked this energy and belief that we are definitely on the right track.”
Summers, who barely missed qualifying for outdoor NCAA Nationals last spring, said thinking about how close he came to doing so increased his drive during the off-season.
"Practice has been very encouraging lately. I feel stronger and more experienced this year," he said.
Summers said long-term, he would like to break the school record.
"We'll see this weekend, and it will give us a gauge to see where we are and how realistic those goals are," he said.
Tory Kemp, a sophomore multi-event competitor, will officially compete for the first time since last outdoor season.
“We’ve been working so hard," she said," especially those who have been redshirted.”
Kemp placed second in the heptathlon and third in the pentathlon last year at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
She echoed Summers' sentiments on the expectations set by the indoor season.
“It’s our turn to come out there and raise the bar, raise the level of competition, and really become more of a national presence," she said.