In the first meet of the 2019 track and field season, North Carolina pole vaulter Anna Eaton was happy to be back. Her performance reflected that.
“It felt really good to come in for the first meet and have an indoor PR, especially because last season I had a lot of trouble with a mental block so I just struggled a lot, and it was very frustrating,” Eaton said. “But to come back and do so well the first meet was really exciting.”
Eaton won the pole vault event with a distance of 4.10 meters, which is the third best mark in school history. She was one of 10 North Carolina track and field athletes that secured ACC Indoor Championships qualifications during competition in the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup in Chapel Hill this weekend. Competing against Duke, Wake Forest and East Carolina, the UNC men placed first and the women placed second.
Eaton's outburst was among a number of promising individual performances in a successful weekend for the Tar Heels.
“We’ve got a good team, on both the men’s side and the women’s side, so to get some of these preliminary qualifiers done in the first meet was really good,” head coach Harlis Meaders said.
Another Tar Heel who qualified for the ACC Championships was redshirt junior Draven Crist, who won the men’s high jump with a distance of 2.15 meters and set a personal record in the process.
“It was very nice. I still have a long way to go,” Crist said. “It’s a big mental game.”
Crist and Eaton, while happy with securing early qualifications, both focused on ways they can improve ahead of a long season. Crist emphasized the mentality necessary to do well.
"Coach helped me prepare the body, but now it's just up to me and my head," Crist said. "All there is, is to jump higher, to show up and to do my job."