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Jan. 9, 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.

Senior multi-event athlete Scott Pierce, 2009 SEC bronze medalist in the heptathlon, writes about Friday’s exhibition and the end of training.

Thursday was our first One-A-Day practice! The weather was beautiful outside and we were planning on a nice easy practice today. However, when we get there, Coach Ben Yocum greets the multi’s to tell us we’re going to have a fun workout. This usually means we’re going to rue the day we first picked up track spikes, but he said he actually meant it today. So we just had ten 100 meter runs on the grass fields with abs and pushups in-between. This wouldn’t have been too bad, except for the fact that we had more abs with Coach Johnson right after our “easy” practice.

In the afternoon we did some shopping at an outlet mall and then the Millenia Mall in Orlando before splitting up to watch the National Championship game (Roll Tide by the way!) I watched the game with my best friend Kyle Logue, the pole vaulter, my roommate Matt Shuler, Jerry Thompson III, Alex Bermudez, Dani Barnes, Nicole Rheindlander, and Daniel Smoak. We played cards in between and Nicole is a cardshark -she, Matt and Kyle were battling in Speed for hours! After that was the first time this year when I got that lovely pre-meet jitters feel-track season starts tomorrow!

Come Friday, track season has begun! We started the day off with a shakeout in the misting rain and then made a quick stop at one of the closer outlet malls. Despite my prowess at not spending money this whole trip, I caught a wee bit of pre-World Cup fever and ended up walking out of the outlet with my summer soccer gear. After the mall we went back to the hotel to hang out until we started warming up.

We jogged and stretched at the hotel and then hopped on the bus to go to the meet. Despite some early promise during the shot put, the sun never broke through and the meet was drizzly and cold. My PIC (that’s partner in crime), Eddie Stoudemire and I started up with shot put and opened up better than we ever have before and he even PR’d. Then we went to high jump and jumped okay, but not nearly as well as we had hoped to. Then was a scramble for everyone to get ready for the 4×4 and I ended up getting handed the job of anchor and because of my insatiable and often idiotic competitive drive had an all out sprint with Alex for the win before myself and the B team secured the win.

After the exhibition we ended the trip with dinner at Chili’s and then milkshakes at Steak and Shake which we brought back to have while we played some cards and watched the rest of “The Hangover”. Tomorrow we’re headed back to Columbia!