ACC Student-Athletes Participate in ACC Community Connections Program

April 20, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Nineteen Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes from 11 different schools took part in an ACC Community Connections outreach event Friday morning.

The student-athletes, in town for the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship, met with almost 300 first through fifth graders from Hollymead Elementary, a local Charlottesville, Va., school.

"It was awesome to be able to go in and play with the kids," said Malia Cali, a sophomore distance runner at North Carolina. "It is such a rewarding experience to be able to compete here [at the ACC Championship] and be able to give back to the community all in the same weekend."

The athletes read the book The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell and discussed the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. They also introduced the basics of their sports, talked about life as an ACC student-athlete, and answered questions from almost 300 students. The books read will be donated to the school for use in its library.

"The experience was amazing to come to the school and interact with the kids, not only talking about staying active but also hearing what they had to say and what they were interested in," said Obiandu Igwe, a junior distance runner at Georgia Tech.

"Being part of the ACC outreach program was pretty cool and it was a really unique experience," said Patrick Harbeson, a sophomore midfielder on the Virginia lacrosse team. "Giving back to the community was awesome, and I think it was really cool for the kids to have us come out and see local people in the communities and have us be a part of it."

Live coverage of the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be available on on Friday from 4-8p.m. and on Saturday from 1:15-5:30 p.m. For more information on ACC Track & Field, visit

The ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship, featuring four of the top ten ranked teams in country, gets underway Friday with semifinal action. The first game between Maryland and Duke starts at 5 p.m. followed by North Carolina and Virginia at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPNU. For more on ACC Lacrosse, visit

The ACC Community Connections Program, now in its second full year, takes place at all of the conference's Olympic sport championships. The program aims to provide local elementary students the chance to talk with ACC student-athletes, for them to learn about the sport, and to donate books to the schools' libraries.