Interview: Bishop England's Blalock chooses South Carolina

Bishop England pole vault athlete Adele Blalock talks about the process to choosing South Carolina and future ambitions. 

What made you decide to sign with South Carolina?
When I went to the University of South Carolina for my official visit I realized very quickly that academically and athletically it was the school for me. I felt that I would be extremely happy and have unlimited opportunities for success. The coaches and the athletes made me feel as if I was already a gamecock. One of the key factors that made me choose USC was that during the practice that I watched, at some point in the practice I saw nearly every athlete smile or laugh. The athletes were able to be in an extremely hardworking environment and still be able to enjoy themselves. It was awesome to see that hard work and passion coexist hand in hand. The athletes looked happy while they were practicing, and at such a high level of competition this is not always the case.

Video: BE's Adele Blalock PRs in pole vault (indoor 2015)

What were your other top choices?
Clemson and the University of Georgia were my two other top choices.

What do you hope to achieve in academics and athletics?
I hope to prepare myself academically for a career in the medical field. Athletically I hope to be successful in the SEC, enjoy doing the sport I love, and stay healthy.

What did you experience during each visit?
During my visit I spent my time with an incredible host who give me an idea of what the next four years could look like for me. I spent time with the coaches and athletes as I visited the campus, went to a football game, and watched practice. I got to spend time one on one with the coaches, athletes, and I got to experience the team as a whole. It was a fantastic experience. 

What would you recommend to others when choosing a college?
Go to a college where not only athletics are important, but where academics are a focus as well. At USC, academics are a top priority and as a student-athlete it is comforting to know that the academic side will be pushed just as hard as the athletic side while I am there.

What does it feel like to have the decision made?
Knowing where I am going is such a relief, but it is also a driving force. I have a lot of work to do and now that my goals and near future are certain it is time to get to work.

What do you hope to achieve this spring?
I hope to have an exciting, healthy season with my amazing coaches, I hope to help my teammates win another State Championship, and I hope that I myself have several PRs.

Looking at your career at Bishop England, what will you remember the most?
I will remember my teachers, my teammates, my coaches, and my faith. At Bishop England I have had several teachers, namely Mr. Parry, who challenged me not only to define myself as an athlete, but also as an intellectual. My teammates inspired me to do my best. Win or lose they always had my back. I could not ask for a better group of people to have spent the past few seasons with. My coaches have pushed me in ways that I never could have. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but my coaches never put additional weight on me. They always knew what I was capable of and they believed in me regardless of what I had to do. For guiding and molding me into who I am as an athlete and an individual I would like to thank Coach Reagan, Mr. Greg Banks, Coach Colizzi, Coach Quinn, Coach Shealy and Coach Tami Dennis. I am blessed to have coaches who have mentored me athletically, but beyond that I am blessed to have had coaches that supported and guided me as a follower of Christ. In going to a private Catholic high school I have been able to grow in faith as I grew as an athlete. This opportunity has marked me and my athletic career more than anything that I have personally accomplished.

What individuals in your life were involved in helping you make the decision?
My mom and my dad were extremely involved in supporting me and helping me decide where to go. I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done for me. I also am grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Hunter for being so supportive of me in my athletic endeavors.