Q&A with Maureen Laffan
First-year Maureen Laffan threw her best collegiate shot put mark last weekend at the Virginia Duals in New York City to win the event. Her toss of 45’ 1.5” moved her into seventh-place on Virginia’s all-time top-10 records and she currently ranks eighth in the ACC with her throw.
The Cavaliers take this weekend off to prepare for the ACC Indoor Championships at Virginia Tech. Events will begin on Thursday, Feb. 26 and conclude on Saturday, Feb. 28.
Question: You threw a collegiate-best in the shot put last weekend, which ended up being one of the top throws in school history, too. What has helped you to be so successful so far this season?
Laffan: I am very happy about my performances. I believe that the help from coach Lane, and all of my teammates supporting me, has definitely added to the success I have seen so far. My family and friends have also rooted me on and encouraged me throughout the season to work hard and become the best athlete I can be.
Question: You’ve been competing in the shot put and the weight throw all season, do you prefer one over the other? What are some of the main differences between the two?
Laffan: I do prefer shot put over the weight a little bit more because I have been throwing the shot put since eighth grade and throughout high school it was my main focus. There are some significant differences between the two; one being the technique of the throw. In the shot put you can spin to the throw, or you can glide to the throw, where as in the weight you turn to the throw. Also the way you throw them is very different.
Question: What is the training atmosphere like with assistant coach Carrie Lane?
Laffan: Training with coach Lane and being around her so far has been a great experience. The atmosphere is enjoyable and everyone has fun but we all know when it’s time to start working and get serious.
Question: How has your transition to college competition from high school been?
Laffan: I didn’t know what to expect at first. I knew in the back of my mind that the competition would be harder and more serious. In high school I was used to being in the seeded flights, and one of the top throwers, and now that I’m here that’s not the case. It reminded me of when I first started high school, being on the bottom and having to make my may to the top. That’s how I think now, I just have to work my way to the top.
Question: When did you start throwing?
Laffan: The first time I threw the shot put was sixth grade in Field Day. I wasn’t very good so I didn’t have any intentions on doing track at all in middle school or high school. In eighth grade I tried out for softball, as the catcher, but that didn’t really work out for me since I had no experience. So a bunch of my friends forced me to join track with them, and at first I really didn’t want to but as I started learning how to throw, I fell in love with it.
Question: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome? What have you learned the most from them?
Laffan: In high school I had to deal with a disorder called Alopecia Areata (spot baldness). My whole sophomore year I was about 75 percent bald, so that was a devastating thing for a teenager to have to go though. I had to get a slip from my dermatologist saying that it was ok for me to wear bandanas while I competed. Track was my get away. Throwing seemed like a way for me to let loose and have fun without thinking about my problems. It helped that my coach was very supporting as well. I learned that you can’t take anything you have for granted because it could be gone in a second. That is one of the reasons I took throwing very seriously because I knew that it could disappear at any time and it was something that I worked for.
Question: If you weren’t a thrower – but were still on the track and field team what events do you think you’d do?
Laffan: I would probably do pole vault because it looks like fun. Other than that, I don’t think I could do any running because I am just not the running type.
Question: What was is about coming to compete for Virginia that appealed the most to you?
Laffan: On my visit in February I felt as if I could become a better athlete with coach Lane coaching me. I knew that this was the place I could excel in the best possible way.
Question: How was your weekend in NYC?
Laffan: My weekend was great. The highlight of the weekend was definitely being able to see my family and friends. I am from New Jersey, so they were able to come watch me compete and I was able to be with them for a little bit before we left.
Question: What are you looking forward to with the conference meet up next for the team?
Laffan: I am looking forward to seeing everyone compete and do their best towards making our team a great team.