April 24, 2008
Throughout the season, OU junior Haley DeProspero will give OU gymnastics fans a glimpse into life on the road for the Sooner squad. This week's installment details the Sooners trip to Athens, Ga., at the NCAA National Championships.
ATHENS, GA. - Hello Sooner Fans! Competing at home for so long, it feels like it's been forever since I've had the opportunity to highlight one of our road trips.
Our alarm clocks rang bright and early on Tuesday as we had to be at our practice facility at 5:40 a.m. for our bus ride to the airport. Needless to say, it was one of the quieter bus rides with this group as most everyone was back asleep within minutes.
Luckily for Kristin (Smith) and her fear of flights, our direct flight to Atlanta went smoothly as we grabbed our bags and loaded the bus for lunch at the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta.
After a quick bite to eat, we stopped in at the Georgia Aquarium which is the largest in the world. It was located right next to the Centennial Olympic Park, home of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. The aquarium was a sight to see. Everyone had a blast looking at the penguins, sharks, whales, sea turtles and everything in between. It was a different excursion from our normal routine of hitting up the mall, which was a welcome change for everyone but Hollie (Vise), who still had fun despite wanting to be shopping.
We then made the short drive to Athens, where we checked-in to the hotel, freshened up and walked to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. The team gathered for a team meeting in KJ's room before we were off to our own rooms for in-room movies and some rest.
The team met for breakfast at the hotel before we departed for Stegeman Coliseum for our work-out session. Everyone is thrilled to be here, but focused on the task at hand. The work-out was one of our better ones this season and we look forward to the actual competition. KJ, Kiwi (Kiara Redmond-Sturms) and Hollie Vise snuck in a quick interview for the Georgia website before we departed for lunch at one of Jen's (Capuzzo) favorite spots.
The area around our hotel is filled with beautiful scenery and shops, which we got to enjoy yesterday afternoon while KJ and Hollie had to return to the arena for the NCAA press conference.
As I've mentioned before, we don't get the opportunity (or don't choose to at least) to dress up too often, so we were ecstatic to get all dressed up and eat dinner at one of Athen's top restaurants. Many pictures were taken before, during and after dinner which we will post once we get back.
We met back in KJ's room for another team meeting last night, which offered us the chance to play Charades while we waited on her to return from the coaches meeting. Everyone had a blast trying to guess everyone's clues, as the team has quite the cast of characters. It's always fun to spend time with the squad outside of the gym as we are all so close and love to cut-up every once in awhile.
After a team breakfast this morning, we are on our way to the arena for today's competition. The team has not lost sight of the goals we set in the preseason and we look to check-one more of the list with a top-three finish this afternoon.