South Carolina Holds Spring Sports Media Luncheon
Feb. 12, 2008
South Carolina held its annual spring sports media luncheon Tuesday afternoon. Swimming, diving, tennis, golf, equestrian, softball and track & field coaches discussed their seasons. Here's what they had to say.
Head Swimming Coach McGee Moody
"Our season for the most part right now is almost over. We've gone through our regular season and we've had some great performances throughout the year. We've had some big wins over Duke and Davidson. The girls had a great win over Clemson. To follow that up, the girls had a big win over Alabama in the last duals meet of the season. We're happy the way things are lining up. With SEC's coming up about two weeks away, it's one of the premiere meets in the country. Pretty much the swimming world will halt for that weekend to watch the performances. We're excited about how things are going."
"On the women's side, we've had a couple of great performances this season. We had a couple of young ladies that are freshmen and twins that joined us ¬- Claire and Christine Thompson. They have definitely established themselves as two of the top freshmen in the country. Claire is definitely going to be a big point scorer and finalist for us in the SEC's."
"On the guy's side, Dominique Lendjel is one of our top athletes as well as Nicholas Walkotten. They've been performing at a very high level all season. We're looking for some major points out of them towards the end of the year and then on to the NCAA's. Now to give you some ideas of what we're trying to do on the national level. One of the goals we've set up for our program is to not only move up in the SEC and in the NCAA, but also on a national level in terms of international competition."
"We're very excited about the direction of the program. Things are happening in a good way for South Carolina Swimming."
Head Diving Coach Todd Sherritt
"On February 24, we leave for the China Open. I'll coach the U.S. team there. It's a huge meet for us because all of the Chinese will be there, plus everybody from the World Cup. If we can come away with a medal, it'll really be a huge thing for us."
"Taryn Zack is a freshman from Alberta, Canada. She comes in with diving skills that I've never seen in a freshman. It usually takes about four years to get someone to the level where she's at. It's been really exciting to work with her. We're looking for big things from her."
"David Ovelson is also from Alberta. He's done a great job for us. He was the SEC Diver of the Week and got it for defeating the NCAA Champion in the one-meter."
"We're heading into the SEC Championships. We also have a tower diver; Allison Barr from Orlando, Florida, that we're hoping can put some points on the board from the tower."
Head Men's Tennis Coach Kent DeMars
"We have three Brazilians, all sophomores. Pedro Campos, his last win of the year last year was against the No. 10 player from Florida. We know he's really capable of playing with the best in the country."
"We're really excited about bringing in Diego Cubas. At one point in his career was actually the No. 1 junior in the world. We feel that he has a tremendous amount of potential."
"We know we'll have plenty of opportunities. We've got 17 matches left. Sixteen of them against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year, of which eight were in the top 20. We know we don't have to beat them all, but we have to beat our fair share. Our first home tennis match will be next Friday at 2 p.m., and we'd like to invite all of you there."
Head Women's Tennis Coach Arlo Elkins
"We have four girls from Serbia and three girls from Florida. They're an excellent team this year. We're looking forward to getting into our season. We've had four matches already, but we're having a match this weekend."
"The most important person to our team this year with only seven players is our athletic trainer. At the top we have Gira Schofield. She's a junior and an NCAA Qualifier the past two years. I think right now she's ranked 26th in the country. We're looking forward to big things from her."
"Ana Zubori last year had a record of 35-5 in the SEC at the No. 2 position. If you know anything about tennis, you know that's awesome in the SEC. She's started off really strong this year."
"With a record like that in the SEC with our top three girls, we really feel like we can compete with anybody in the top of our division."
"Our younger girls are really good players. They've played in many of the Grand Slams at the junior level, like Wimbledon and the French Open. They're experienced. They're a good group and they really get along. We're looking forward to a really good season."
Women's Golf Assistant Coach Michael Burcin
"Kalen (Anderson) wanted me to express that we're fired up about the direction of the program. We're looking, as far as recruiting, to really be a force nationally. We're excited for the direction we're going."
Men's Golf Head Coach Bill McDonald
"About a year ago we were about 50th in the country. Now, depending on what poll you look at, we're anywhere from 15th to 20th. I'm extremely excited about the direction we're going. That doesn't happen by accident. We're starting to get some leadership. With our program, we want to win every event that we enter. A large part of that comes from our leadership with seniors Mark Anderson and Warren Thomas. We're beginning to prepare like champions."
"We have a great recruiting class of 2008. We leave for our first tournament of the season this Friday, and we start playing on Sunday. We're looking forward to great things."
Equestrian Assistant Coach Ruth Sorrel
"We have a huge recruiting class coming in this year. We had seven in the fall, and we're looking for four more for the spring. Once we get those signed, we'll have the most talented class we've ever had at South Carolina. [Head] Coach [Boo] Duncan has done a wonderful job since she's taken over. I've been here three years, and I'm very fortunate to be here."
"Last December we were fortunate enough to purchase our facility, One Wood Farm. It's a beautiful facility. We look forward to continuing our success. We travel to Georgia, Delaware State, and Sacred Heart. March 28 and 29 we're hosting the Southern Equestrian Championships. We're looking forward to and hoping to return to Waco in April."
Softball Head Coach Joyce Compton
"We're a pretty old team this year. We scheduled our non-conference with the best teams we could get. We saw two national teams last weekend, and we'll probably see four more, if not five more, this weekend in Vegas. Then, we'll have two more the following weekend. Once we get into conference play there will probably be 10 of them ranked over the course of the year."
"I kind of like the situation we're in right now. Nobody thinks we're any good because maybe we're not quite where we're going to be in about three or four weeks when the conference starts. Our plan is to put everybody to sleep and come at the end of the year when conference play starts and get the job done."
"I think we'll put a good product on the field. We open up tomorrow against Western Carolina at 4:00 p.m. We have a new scoreboard at the field, which is a great addition to the facility."
Head Track & Field Coach Curtis Frye
"Brandi Cross is ranked No. 1 in the country. Last year she was ranked No. 3 in the Pan Am Games, and this year she beat the two ladies that were ahead of her. She'll face the returning runner-up this weekend."
"Our goals are a little bit less than in years past. We lost three athletes that were NCAA Champions that would be seniors this year. Normally it takes 54 points to win the NCAA, so we would be the potential NCAA Champion, but we lost those three. Now, we've brought in a freshmen class that we've hoped would take over for them, but that hasn't transpired yet. Now our goal is to be in the top 20 in indoors and the top 15 outdoors. That's where we are."
"Our men's team has never been ranked this high this early, and I think we have a shot at the top 15 in the country or the top 10 outdoors. Those are our goals."