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Last weekend at the Penn State National Invitational, first-year Morgane Gay raced in her first 800m competition of her collegiate career and shattered the school record. Finishing the race in fourth in 2:08.07, Gay replaced Kim Kelly’s 2:09.27 mark from 1985 as the top spot, and became the eighth Cavalier to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships this season.

The Cavaliers take a break from competition this weekend before heading to New York City to compete in the Armory Duals on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Question: In your first 800m competition as a collegiate athlete, you not only hit the NCAA provisional qualifying mark, but you shattered the school record. Was that a goal, or even a thought, of yours heading into the meet?
Gay: I actually didn’t come into the race with any specific expectations. I was pretty nervous because it was my first open track race in college. I didn’t really think about times much because I wasn’t sure I could accurately compare my fitness level from last year to this year.

Question: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
Gay: I always have the same goal: to just try my best. At the end, if I know that I have given my best effort, then I will be happy.

Question: Will your training change now that you’ve hit the provisional mark in the 800m?
Gay: I don’t think this changes anything, it all depends on what workouts coach (Jason) Vigilante wants to give us.

Question: You had a successful cross country season for Virginia and are off to a good start on the track. How are the two sports different and do you enjoy one more than the other?
Gay: I like to live in the moment. I love cross country and look forward to it after the summer, but by the time track comes around it feels good to work more on speed. I don’t think I can compare the two, but I know that my passion for cross country never leaves me, even in track season.

Question: How did you enjoy your first semester on Grounds?
Gay: I loved my first semester. Besides enjoying the balance that practice added to my day, I took a broad range of interesting classes to find out what I’m interested in.

Question: What has been your most positive influence in the time that you’ve been at Virginia?
Gay: My most positive influences, whether in high school or at Virginia, have always been my teammates. The sport is meaningless without them, and I am meaningless without them. Whether it be my admiration of the upperclassmen or the close bond I feel with my other first years, I know I would not be here everyday if it weren’t for them.

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