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Paul Haley takes first in the men's pole vault at the Kent Taylor Invite

The Kent Taylor Invite on Sunday at the Eddie Smith Field House in Chapel Hill was the final indoor meet of the regular season for the North Carolina track and field team prior to the start of the ACC Championships. 

Paul Haley is no stranger to coming out on top. Sunday proved no different, as the redshirt junior from Ellicott City, Md., placed first in the men's pole vault with a mark of 4.45 meters. 

Haley, however, did not gloat after his victory. Instead, he found himself thinking more about what he put into his performance than what he got out of it. 

“I was pretty pleased with my performance and not because of my first-place finish, but because of how I competed,” Haley said. “I had a personal record, which is nice.”

Haley dominated the pole vault competition, beating the second-place finisher by .65 meters. 

“Pole vault and the high jump have been break out events for him,” said Coach Harlis Meaders about Haley's showing this season. 

Haley also noted his team’s improvement and finish at the meet on Sunday.

“The meet was a great team performance over all,” Haley said. “The training that each athlete has undergone was evident at the meet, and the team is looking good going into the ACC Championships.” 

With the ACC Championships beginning Thursday in Boston, the multi-event spotlight will be on Haley after his championship performance a season ago in the men’s heptathlon. 

But Haley still knows there is room for improvement.

“I think going into the season I had an idea of a lot of the things to do to be a better multi-event competitor over all,” he said. “I put all of the ideas into practice and I’m starting to know more about the events and what I need to do to improve.”

Meaders, too, has high hopes for Haley as the team travels to Boston.

“He can definitely be one of the top athletes at the ACC meet,” he said. “He’s a great competitor who knows what it takes and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paul among the top three again.”

Haley knows the amount of work he must put in to be an ACC champion, but he also knows there is always something more that can be done.

“I just plan on being better than I was the day before,” he said.


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