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Redshirt freshman Taylor Gilland, coming from a high school program at Chapel Hill that did not have an indoor track team, is competing in his first-ever indoor track and field season for Virginia this year. This weekend, Gilland will head out west with some of the Cavaliers’ distance runners to compete on an oversized indoor track at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic. Events are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

In addition, the Cavaliers will also send competitors to New York City to compete at the Armory on Saturday evening.

Question: You recently ran in your first-ever indoor track race. What was that experience like?
Gilland: I really liked running on the indoor track. The nice thing about indoor track is the weather is always perfect. It is always 65 degrees and no wind. You don’t have to worry about wind or rain or anything that can affect a race on an outdoor track. The only bad thing is the dry air makes it so when you finish, you feel like you just spent a month trapped in a mine in Chile.

Question: Did you find it more difficult or challenging to run twice as many laps as you were used to? How were you able to gauge where you were at in the race?
Gilland: If they didn’t have a lap counter during indoor track races, I would definitely lose track of how many laps I have left. Luckily, they have someone screaming at you each lap, telling you how many laps you have left to run. You would have to be pretty zoned out to lose track of laps with someone screaming at you. The tighter turns do make it so there is a lot more “racing” in indoors because positioning is so important.

Question: You’re heading to Washington this weekend to run on an oversized track. How are you preparing for that race?
Gilland: I’m preparing for the race just as I would for any other meet. Trying to get good sleep and eat well. I’m really excited to run on the oversized track because we will have no clue what our quarter mile splits are or anything like that. We will just be able to go out there and compete, and if your up near the front you will run fast.

Question: You had an injury that held you back from cross country your freshman season and then you redshirted the rest of the year. What has allowed you to reach the times and the level of competition that you’re at now?
Gilland: Coach Vig and my teammates helped get me back in shape. This fall when I finally got healthy, I was really out of shape. My teammates kicked my butt everyday in practice all fall and eventually, I was able to keep up. I still have a long ways to go to get on the level of some of the guys on our team, but it has been fun to be competitive again this winter. With distance running, it is so important to be consistent and injury free. Coach has done a really good job cutting me off in some workouts to help keep me healthy.

Question: As a three-sport athlete, do you have a favorite season?
Gilland: Right now, I think indoor is my favorite. I’ve had a lot of fun traveling and I like the bumping and shoving that is inevitable on the smaller track.

Question: What are you most excited about for this year?
Gilland: I’m really excited for indoor ACCs. We have a lot of guys redshirting this season, but it will be a lot of fun for some of us that haven’t contributed in the past to try and step up and score some points.

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