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March. 7, 2002

Demetria Washington, the defending NCAA 400m champion, will sit down with each day during the NCAA Championships. Today she talks about coming to Arkansas last night, missing the seniors next year and what it’s like to be around the men’s team.

We left yesterday from the Roost to take the bus to the airport. Before we went to the Roost, Tacita and I stopped and got a smoothie. James and Andre also stopped by for one. When we got on the bus,a lot of people had smoothies and Corey Taylor was wondering why everyone had smoothies and was joking where his smoothie was – who had his smoothie.

We get along really well. We are unlike other teams with guys separate for the girls. We’ve always been around the guys team. If we were separate from the beginning, I would be use to it – but we get along so well with the guys. I think it’s good for us and we learn more about each other. I am happy Coach Frye has us together all the time.

It’s fun to travel through the airport because everyone waits for everybody to get their tickets, to get food and such. I went and bought a book – I bought Lord of the Rings Part II. I read a bit and then we flew out – I sat down next to Erica Whipple. We talked a bit – we call each other best friend.

We had a long layover in Atlanta, three hours. I bought a CD player because mine has been acting up. Aleen and I went and got something to eat and this older man asked us to join him. He wished us good luck and told us he had seen Marion Jones in the airport the week before. Later, at our gate, we had The Joning Circle (joking, making jokes) – Otis, Corey and Jon call it joning. They are funny and we like to make each other laugh. It’s all in fun.

We got to the hotel about 1 am. Mechelle Lewis is my roommate and we watched the Cosby Show until we crashed.

I got up about 8:45 am this morning and went downstairs for our team breakfast at 9 am. We talked and joked about scary movies. WE were talking about Beetlejuice. Then Coach Frye talked and then he called a mini-meeting of the captains. We talked about what we would do later today. We are going to practice at 11:30 am and then come back and eat a quick lunch. Then we will rest. Then we are going to the movies, the mall and dinner at 5 pm. It’s really good for our team to spend quality time together. It gives us a lot of variety to hang out with the guys. We know the business we have to take care of starting tomorrow. We will be serious tomorrow, but we will have fun as well. We are all pretty smart, with good judgement and everyone knows what to do and not to do.

I have one more indoor year – this is my last indoor with Tacita and Lisa. I avoided Lisa and Tacita at SECs when we had a team hug. I know here because I will cry because I will miss them. I really miss Miki (redshirted due to injury – she will be back next year with Demetria for their senior year). She really helped me a lot and gave me confidence because she would say she was nervous, but she never really looked like it. I look at the freshmen and Tacita, I get a lot of energy from them. Everybody is here to run. It is really nice to see a lot of freshmen here and they are all serious. I think Antoninette is going to shock some people here in the long jump. She is ready to go!

The guys are on a mission too. They have a lot of potentinal and they are going to show some people some things they didn’t know they had. They ran spectacular at SECs – a 3:05 in the 4×400 relay – they just have to put their mind to it. Chris in the pole vault is going to do some good things. OT is doing well. He is really. Andre is a senior – our last nationals too – he will be in the top 5 if he puts his mind to it. HE is a real threat to those in the 200m.

I think Otis has the ability to be an NCAA champion in the 400m. I talk to Otis a lot – we have this bond. I will tell him how the track feels and I will tell him to ‘get out!’. It’s nice how Otis and I get along and our freshman Jon Fortenberry – he was so nervous at his first meet and I gave him a hug. Now he thinks that’s good luck for him.

The coaches are real helpful too. They tell us were are here for business, but they also give us some leisure time. I am glad they are letting us go to the movies tonight. They show they care about us as individuals. Aaron (the massage therapist) always pumps you up – saying – you look fast today. He is always giving us good inspiration. And Michelle is always talking to us about interviews and that we are smart, but we are here for business.

It’s gonna be a great meet and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow night!