“Even though it’s early season, it’s fun to get the competitive juices going for the kids,” Coach Harlis Meaders said.
The young runners seized the opportunity and set some notable early season marks.
First-year Nicole Greene hit 1.81 meters in the high jump, a height that has her ranked fourth in the nation. Despite the high mark, Greene was not immune to the jitters that can come along with proving yourself as a new runner.
“The key was making sure my nerves were calm and performing my best and being really calm in the situation,” Greene said.
Natisha Dixon, a sophomore, also stood out as an underclassman. She put up a personal record in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.42 seconds, which places her at the top of the current ACC rankings.
The Tar Heels got production out of several other young runners, including first-year Katlin Sherman — who threw down an ACC-best 24.24 second 200-meter dash.
Despite a prevalence of youth for the Tar Heels, the veterans who were competing got off to a great start, too. A.J. Hicks, a redshirt senior, opened the season with a throw of 21.16 meters, 18 centimeters farther than he threw at the start of the 2015 season, in the weight throw. The throw was also four feet farther than any other competitors’.
“Even though A.J. is seasoned, he’s still working out the bugs,” Meaders said. “But it’s very good to see that he is on the right path.”
Hicks agreed with that sentiment and has some ambitious goals that he feels are within reach.
“First-team All-America would be nice,” Hicks said. “The Indoor weight record would also be nice.”
The Tar Heels might have the recipe for success with a very potent young lineup that could improve even further when the more experienced veterans are added in.
“We’ve got a number of young kids that are continuing to improve and get better, and it’s exciting to have young kids that talented,” Meaders said. “It makes the future of both programs, men and women, look good.”