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June 24, 2005

NINGBO, CHINA– We finished fourth in the Dominican last week behind Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. It was a hard fight to the finish and I believe that any one of the four teams could have finished first. We had some fun times in the Dominican, but it was back to Colorado Springs the day after finals. After we got back, we had that Sunday off so most of us spent the day doing laundry, resting and stocking up on food for our trip to China for the World Grand Prix.

We’re in Ningbo, China right now and it is absolutely AMAZING! I thought we would never get here because the trip took forever. We left Colorado Springs on June 20 at 2:15 p.m. and flew to Los Angeles then to Hong Kong. The flight to Los Angeles was not bad, but the eight-hour layover there was. We had to find ways to entertain ourselves and keep from going crazy in the same spot for eight hours. We finally boarded the plane at 12:45 a.m. but did not leave until 2:15 a.m. on June 21, my birthday. I think I had the shortest birthday ever since I only got to celebrate it for 2 hours. By the time we were on the plane to Hong Kong, the time difference pushed us a day ahead.

The flight to Hong Kong was 14 hours, which is the longest flight I ever have taken. Surprisingly, there was a lot to do because the plane had a wide variety of movies, television shows and food. There is always sleeping, of course, which is what I did most of the time. I would like to say that it went by pretty fast, but it did not. Once we got to Hong Kong, we had another four-hour layover before getting on the plane to Ningbo, our final destination.

Our coach, Jenny Lang Ping, warned us before we got to China that there would be a lot of cameras, media and paparazzi at the airport and around us while we practiced. They weren’t really interested in us; they wanted photos of Jenny because she is a celebrity in China. It is so amazing to think that this celebrity is our coach. She needed people to escort her to the bus, her pictures are everywhere here and she even has her own postage stamp and personal bodyguard. I think that is pretty amazing.

The people that work at the hotel in which we are staying are really nice. They do not let us lift a finger because they want to do everything for us. They try their best to get us anything we want. Besides all the crazy media attention and the super nice staff, there is the competition!

This week, we play the Netherlands, Thailand and China. Tomorrow, we play the Netherlands and we are really prepared. We have been training mainly for this tournament and although there are a few areas that we need to work on, I think we should be fine.

As much as I am enjoying all the traveling and great competition, I can’t wait to get back to train with our team in South Carolina. I heard that they have been training pretty hard together as well, so it will be good to get back with them. I am really looking forward to this fall season. I miss them a lot. In the meantime, GO COCKS!