Three Tar Heels were given NFCA Southeast Region honors this year. Brown was a member of the first team, while seniors Jenna Kelly and Walker were named to the third team.
About Kelly, who was a vital part of the team’s final weekend, Papa said, “She’s been doing great things for us her whole career.”
In addition to Parrish, Kelly and Walker, UNC loses seniors Kati Causey and Jordan Scarboro as well. Each of the five seniors rose to the occasion when called upon this season and played an important role in helping the Tar Heels win games.
“Our five seniors — couldn’t have asked for anything more from them. They were fantastic for us,” Papa said.
One of the biggest stories this season for the Tar Heels was Brown, who on April 22nd hit her 44th career home run, besting the mark of 43 set by Haleigh Dickey in 2013. Dickey’s highest home run total in a season was twelve, but Brown doubled that this past year with a whopping 24 long balls, also a UNC single-season record. Brown also set a new school single-season record for runs driven in with 67.
“I was here when Haleigh Dickey broke the record, but to have Kristen break it as a junior … her ceiling is way up there,” Papa said on April 22nd.
Everyone around the North Carolina program is visualizing the monster potential this team will have riding into next season.
Freshman Kaylee Carlson, who turned out to be the Tar Heels go to arm this season, will play a pivotal role in future success for the program.
In regard to Carlson’s performance this weekend, Papa seemed pleased and optimistic about the coming years for UNC.
“I was really proud of Kaylee and what she did for us this weekend, you know she’s a freshman, and a really bright future going forward,” Papa said.
Carlson, along with Wike and Brown are three of many important UNC underclassmen that will be returning next season to help the Tar Heels continue their winning ways.
Wike, who sometimes flies under the radar, was named as one of 25 finalists for the NFCA freshman of the year award but was eliminated when the field was narrowed to ten.
Brown is going into the 2016 season already holding a plethora of school records and understands the excitement of playing for North Carolina.
“I’m just proud of everyone, and it’s an honor to be part of the Tar Heel team.”
The Tar Heels finished the year at 37-16 and will look to build off this season’s success next year.