The North Carolina men’s and women’s track and field teams sent a small group of athletes to Tallahassee, where UNC competed against Ohio State, Miami and Florida State.
The Tar Heels posted a slew of second-place finishes, including Cameron Overstreet in the women’s pole vault; Emily Godwin in long jump; Houston Summers in javelin throw; and Austin Vegas in men’s pole vault.
“We had a really small group,” Howard said. “For some people it was just opening up, trying to get used to outdoors and get in the rhythm of being in outdoors were the big things.”
Another UNC group stayed in state, competing at the Raleigh Relays at N.C. State. The meet hosted approximately 2,500 athletes from across the country.
Three Tar Heels placed first in their events: senior Annie LeHardy and redshirt junior Lizzy Whelan in the 1,500-meter and 800-meter races, respectively, and junior RJ Alowonle in the 400-meter hurdles.
“My mindset going into this race was just another race to get under my legs,” LeHardy said. “We have a big race coming up this weekend at Stanford.”
LeHardy has been building up to the 5K race by running an 800-meter race the week before and then a 1,500-meter race in Raleigh.
“I wasn’t too nervous because there was nothing really on the line,” she said. “These are the kind of races where you can just go out, have fun, and kind of run fast.”
Meaders said because the weather was cooler in Raleigh, UNC didn’t compete all of its athletes, but LeHardy said the weather conditions were better for racing.
Freshman Natisha Dixon took third in the 100-meter hurdles, and several other UNC athletes placed in the top-10.
The meet didn’t go quite as well for some UNC athletes, but it’s also early in the season.
“We’re about two weeks away before we really start getting into key performance shape,” Meaders said. “I think we’re a better outdoor team. I think the kids are excited about being outside and getting a chance to compete in some of the longer events — the 400 hurdles, the 110 hurdles, the 10K.”
Knowing that, it’s easy to keep moving forward. Like Howard, the team is getting that much closer to its goals after this weekend.
It’s just all about confidence.