On the first rotation — the vault — it was clear North Carolina's gymnasts knew it, too. Each of the five competitors scored a season high, with sophomore Morgan Lane — who came in first in the all-around competition — and sophomore Kaitlynn Hedelund placing in the top-5.
Hedelund, who hadn’t competed in the all-around competition in the previous meet because of a sprained ankle, scored a career-high 9.875 on the vault to finish first in the event.
The team’s determination to do well despite the setbacks it was facing continued onto the uneven bars. Although none of the athletes met their season-high scores, Lane and Hedelund once again finished in the top-5, with Lane taking first place and Hedelund third.
“This is the grittiest team that I have been a part of,” said senior Lexi Cappalli.
And on the third rotation, their grit was clear, as the Tar Heels moved into striking distance of the Wolfpack with impressive performances on the balance beam.
Hedelund and Lane — once again — along with senior Josselyn Mackey placed in the top-5. And for the second time Friday night, Hedelund proved her injured ankle wouldn’t stop her, as she once again set a career high.
But on the last rotation, Hedelund over-rotated her double pike on her second-to-last tumbling pass, and because there were only five gymnasts able to compete, North Carolina wasn’t able to overcome its small deficit.
But Galvin wasn’t disappointed.
“It was a huge double pike,” he said. “I’ve never seen her go that high, so I know she was going for it. I can’t fault them if they make a mistake going for it.”
And she did go for it. But UNC knows that — as well as it might be doing now — improved health is going to be key for the Tar Heels to continue to improve.
“If your ligaments are weak, it doesn’t matter how physically strong you are." — Galvin on his team's injury concerns and need to get healthy.
Friday's meet between UNC, N.C. State and William & Mary was dubbed the "Pink Meet" in support of the University's "Get REAL & HEEL" program and breast cancer awareness.
North Carolina travels to Washington, D.C., to take on George Washington and New Hampshire at 7 p.m. on Friday.