Kaitlynn Hedelund leaped off the beam, completed a flip, stuck the landing and was swarmed by hugs from her excited teammates.
Hedelund, who was injured for part of the 2014-15 season, had a standout performance in the North Carolina gymnastic team's season opener on Sunday, a 192.400-189.050 win over William & Mary.
“I think I was more excited this year than my freshman year last year,” she said. “Last year, I only got to do bars and beam for our opener because I was injured.”
Sunday proved to be much different than her first competition as a Tar Heel.
Hedelund placed in the top two of all four events and notched the highest all-around score with a 39.150.
Coach Derek Galvin was impressed with Hedelund’s performance, but not surprised.
“She came in last year with an ankle or foot injury, and now people are getting to see what she is capable of," he said. "The vault she did today is one of the best she’s done at Carolina. She looks strong on all four events.”
Fellow sophomore Morgan Lane, who came in second in the all-around competition, agreed that keeping Hedelund healthy is essential to the team’s success in upcoming meets.
“(Hedelund) is a super strong competitor,” she said. “We really need her, and it is awesome to be able to count on her for the great routines she can put up.”
And despite only being in her second year at the collegiate level, Hedelund is already establishing herself as a leader for the team.
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