Well over 3,000 fans lined up at Colonial Life Arena Sunday afternoon to get autographs from their favorite Gamecocks as the South Carolina Athletics Department hosted its annual Fan Appreciation Day.
Coaches and student-athletes from South Carolina's fall sports showed up to sign autographs and meet the 3,070 garnet and black clad fans. The volleyball, cross country, football and men's and women's soccer teams, along with the cheer squad and Cocky, all suited up for what has become one of the signature events of late summer in Columbia.
GamecocksOnline.com was able to catch a few student-athletes during the event for their take on why they enjoy Fan Appreciation Day.
Penny Boswell, Sophomore, Cross Country
"It's really cool to see all of the people come by and to see the support we have as Gamecocks. It makes putting on the Gamecock jersey mean so much more than just going out for a (cross country) race. You're going to go race for people that are supporting you, and with so many fans it means so much to us."
Vance Benson, Senior, Men's Soccer
"Fan Appreciation Day is always a good day. It's in the middle of preseason so we've been putting in hours of hard work, so it's good to see the support. We obviously have some of the greatest fans in the United States, and it's always surprising to see how many people come out and how supportive they are. It's really encouraging to see everybody out here."
Teresa Stenlund, Senior, Volleyball
"Fan Appreciation Day is special to me because it lets us reach out to the fans on a personal level. They're all excited because they get to see the football team, but then we get to draw in more fans who may not have been interested in volleyball. I love meeting the fans. They're very special to everyone on the team, and we appreciate everyone that comes out."
Ali Glemser, Senior, Women's Soccer
"It's been a great break to preseason to finally do something in air conditioning! It's great. The fans definitely make our success so much sweeter. To see them out here supporting us like this is great. We get to interact with them instead of just seeing them up in the stands. They've been so sweet and do so much for us."