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On a trip to California the summer after her freshman year at Charlotte Country Day School, Loren Shealy made a stop at the Stanford field hockey office. The coach’s assessment of her grades, which included a few Bs and As, was, in a word, meh. Hiking up 14,000-foot Mt. Shasta soon after, Shealy thought about how the opportunity to play college field hockey might slip away because her transcript didn’t shine brightly enough. So she made a promise to herself: if she completed the grueling ascent, she would get a 4.0 and make the varsity field hockey team the next year. She made it to the top and, thanks to relentless hard work on both the field and in the classroom, she has been a peak performer ever since.
Of all four teams, North Carolina would see the most meaningful spike in its potential ceiling with Wiggins. Right now, UNC looks like a typically talented Roy Williams squad with some run-of-the-mill issues and an intriguing young point guard (Marcus Paige) who needs more confidence and fewer turnovers. The underrated P.J. Hairston and the overrated James Michael McAdoo (who would have been a lottery pick last summer before he posted a 91.3 offensive rating as a sophomore) are back, as are rising sophomore reserves Brice Johnson and Joel James. Carolina has the No. 8-ranked power forward (Isaiah Hicks) and the No. 6-ranked center (Kennedy Meeks) in its incoming class. The only underclassman to leave for the NBA was 6-foot-7 junior small forward Reggie Bullock.
Top-ranked North Carolina has had one of the best starts in collegiate baseball history and remains hungry to hold on to the top spot and solidify its claim as arguably the best team in the nation.
It’s been an incredible 2013 season thus far for head coach Mike Fox and his team. The Tar Heels are loaded with talents such as All-American third baseman Colin Moran, ace starting pitcher Kent Emanuel and slugger Cody Stubbs. UNC has played in the College World Series in Omaha five of the last seven years and Fox currently possesses the highest winning percentage amongst active coaches.