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Jan. 6, 2010

The South Carolina track and field team annually heads down to Orlando, Fla., for a week of preseason training before competing against Denison University in a friendly exhibition. The team trains vigorously throughout the week before getting a chance to enjoy the Disney theme parks as a climax to the University’s winter break. Various members of the team will check in daily with about the everyday happenings with the sprinters, hurdlers, distance runners, throwers, pole vaulters and multi-event athletes.

Junior thrower Michael Zajac, a 2009 All-American in the weight throw, writes about Tuesday’s practice.

Well another day is in the books and it was another awesome day for the Gamecock throwers. We headed back out to Clermont and I must say that it was quite chilly at 8:00 a.m. this morning. After a short warm-up session we hit the throwing circles again for several hours of fun filled throwing. The majority of us were at the hammer ring throwing either the weight or the hammer. This was probably one of the first times the younger kids have touched the weight this year, but they all actually looked quite good. I think we have some young guys and gals that could do good things in the weight this year. I threw the hammer again today and I was quite pleased with almost all of my throws. I really think that I am on to something and I’m not going to lie; I’m pretty excited about it!

After our throwing session, we made the trek to the weight room. Coach Sarge came up with a “fun” little workout of power cleans and hang snatches. Something tells me I might have gone a little too heavy as I was walking around like an 80 year old man this afternoon. But hey, it is January, so who really cares if we are sore. After we finished our main lifting segment, Coach came up with an enjoyable ab circuit that we all completed with a big smile on our faces. All in all, it was a great morning session.

In the afternoon session, some of the younger throwers got some extra work on the weight throw, while Sarge had mercy on some of us old farts. Jeff Merkt, Andrew Vaughan and I were sent off to one of the recreational fields at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex to complete a Howler workout (every young person will know this is the Nerf football that whistles when you throw it) which we probably had a little too much fun completing. Let’s just say it involved a bird and a howler.

So far (and yes it is only the second day) it has been a great trip for the Gamecock Track and Field Team. Coach Frye hit us with some strong quotes last night to think about when we are training for the upcoming season. The one that really stuck in my head was, “Hard work beats talent.” We’ve all heard the classic, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work”, but when you just say “hard work beats talent” it really makes me want to train till my body can’t move anymore to accomplish my goals for the season. Until later, Mike