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June 10, 2005

Sacramento, Calif. –

Senior All-American Chelsea Hammond, who recently won her fourth consecutive Penn Relays long jump title, wrapped up competition in her last NCAA Outdoor Championship on Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. Hammond, leaped 20’5 1/4 in the women’s long jump for eighth place and the first point for the Gamecocks. Hammond talks about the championship now that she is done competing, and what to expect from the Gamecocks over the next couple of days.

Q: How do you feel about your performances yesterday in the high and long jumps?

A: I wasn’t very pleased with my performances. I wanted to score more points for the team, but I still scored, so I’m happy that I was able to put the first point on the board.

Q: How do you feel about your standings in the championship going into day three?

A: I feel really good and confident going into day three. Today we have the 4x100m relay final, the 400m semifinal and the 400m hurdles semifinal. Those are three of our strongest events and I know we can take the goal in all three of those events, so that’s real promising to everyone. Today will set us up for tomorrow- the final day of the championship.

Q: What is your role on the team now that you’re done competing?

A: My role now is to be the biggest supporter and helper to the team. If anyone needs anything they can come to me. I’m just going to be there to support them and keep the team focused and positive going into the remainder of the championship.

Q: Are the Gamecocks still in the running for the national title?

A: Of course we are. It’s going to be tough, but the kind of characters we have on this our are not ones to give up. We’re ones that perform well under pressure. So, I believe we can definitely get it done. We’ve done well in meets like this throughout the season. This is just one more. We just have to get it done.

Another motivator is that we’re not ranked in the top three. It’s just motivation because we deserve to be there because we are the best in the nation. I think that’s good so we can surprise people. I like to be the underdog. Now, we have to show them that we can win this championship.

Q: How does this year’s championship differ from 2002 when you won the title?

A: Personally, this one is definitely different, because I contributed to the points. This is my senior year so this is my last NCAA Outdoor Championship. You really appreciate it because it’s your last one and you’ll never be in the position again. It really means a lot me because I contributed to this meet, so I feel better about claiming a national title. As a team, we are so much closer than we were before. We, the seniors, have built relationships over the four years and I think that’s one of the things that make us successful. We really rely on each other and genuinely care about each other.

Q: What should we expect from the Gamecocks today?

A: I definitely think the 4x100m relay is for us to grab. There’s no doubt in my mind that we should win it. We have the fastest girls on the track, so as long as we get that baton around, we should have 10 points on the board today. Then we have the 400m hurdles with Tiffany and Shevon. They’re greet athletes who perform well under pressure. In the 400m, we have Natasha and Stephanie who I think will do really well today. We’re just fighting for lane positions. They’re going to advance and get some points for us tomorrow. So, today should be a good day for the Gamecocks.