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May 8, 2008

South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye will take his Gamecock track and field squad up to Chapel Hill, N.C., on Fri., May 9 for the Carolina Classic. With the student-athletes finished with spring semester finals, Frye is looking for the team to use the Friday meet as its last pre-SEC Championships tune-up. The SEC Outdoor Championships are Thurs., May 14 – Sun., May 18 in Auburn, Ala.

Your kids just finished finals and you are headed to the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill. What’s the look in their eyes right now?

Frye: Always after exams everybody is a little bit drained and it’s good that you don’t have a conference meet this weekend. It’s a good thing to have a Chapel Hill meet. They are students and they are stressed like everyone else. Most people are headed off to the beach to relax, but not this group. This meet will give them a chance to breath a little bit so they get their juices back up. I hope they competed in the classroom last week as well.

Historically your teams have done well academically.

Frye: We do a good job in the classroom and hopefully that is the case this semester as well. We are looking for a good semester, but you never know.

What are you looking for on Friday in Chapel Hill?

Frye: We are looking for solid performances. We leave next Wednesday for the SEC Championship so we want to get the kinks out this weekend. We want to try to get the baton around the track. If we have to have anything go wrong, we would rather do it now so we don’t get to the conference meet and discover things. A week off from practice might have done them good.

What are you looking for next week at the SEC Championships?

Frye: We will have to have an exceptional performance to finish in the top seven on the women’s side and to be in the mix on the men’s side. The men’s side is packed up in the top 25 – it’s obviously the best league in the country. Florida is No. 2, LSU is No. 3 – having spent time at No. 1, Auburn is No. 9, Tennessee is No. 14, Arkansas is No. 15, Kentucky is No. 18 and Georgia is No. 23. On the women’s side it’s no less. LSU is No. 3 on the women’s side this week after being No. 1 last week, Arkansas is No. 11, Florida is No. 13, Tennessee is No. 19, Ole Miss is No. 20 and Auburn is No. 23. It’s loaded on both sides. Our thing is to hang tight and try to get in the mix. It’s top to bottom the best conference and we have to be ready.

How do you prepare for that?

Frye: We go in knowing it’s going to be an uphill battle. Our job is to make it tough on other teams and knock off somebody that is in the top 20. Our time will come. We are the spoiler right now. We have to be after everybody. We have had years when we were the highly ranked team and someone else upset the apple cart. They don’t make champions on paper – only predictions. It’s just the way it figures out on paper. Our best track is to come and we are going to run it next week in Auburn.

Will you do anything specific to prepare your youthful teams?

Frye: Our kids are really young as freshmen and they are our best kids. Freshmen can get excited and also fall apart. Our problem is leadership on the women’s side and that won’t be just one year. It will take this year and hopefully everyone grows up quickly. By the time they are juniors we should do well. Hopefully they won’t read the paper because they are anticipating going into the SEC meet and doing what they did in high school last year, but normally that’s not how it works. We have to get them `grown-up’. That’s really important for both sides.

But I have a great staff and they know how to pull things together. We are looking forward to and also are thankful for the support of the Gamecock fans. They have always been supportive of our program.