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Sophomore Vanessa Fabrizio (Denver, Colo.) recently talked with VirginiaSports.com about breaking the school record in the 800 meters (2:07.43) last Friday (Feb. 24) at the ACC Indoor Championships and how competing in the 2011 USATF Junior National Championships last summer helped her at the conference meet.

Question: What was it like breaking the school record in the 800 meters at the ACC Indoor Championships last weekend?
Fabrizio:
I’ve had my eye on the school record since last year and my teammate Lyndsay (Harper) broke it, so it’s been one of my goals this year. I wasn’t expecting to do it in the prelims, but breaking it was really exciting and it’s one step closer to all my goals. I felt really good the whole race and when I finished, I was less tired than usual because it was a good time and I was happy. It felt strong and I was having fun, so it felt pretty good.

Question: Last year, you competed at the USATF Junior National Championships, what was that like and did running in a big meet help you prepare for another big meet like ACCs?
Fabrizio:
Junior Nationals was really stressful for me and it was one of my first meets in college where all the good people are there. I had just come off of an injury, so it was my first outdoor meet (in college). I made some mistakes, so it definitely helped me at this meet (ACCs) be calm, make less mistakes and act like I knew what was going on. It was a great learning experience.

Question: How did you get into track when you were younger?
Fabrizio:
I used to play basketball and soccer and I tore a ligament in my shoulder when I was in high school. After I had surgery, my doctor told me I could only run for the next nine months, so I joined the track team and turned out to be good at it and liked it. I’ve ran track ever since.

Question: Were you always a middle distance runner?
Fabrizio:
I always ran cross country in high school, but just for fun. I started out in the 400, but moved up to the 800, so I haven’t changed (distances) much.

Question: Coming from Colorado, how did you end up at Virginia?
Fabrizio:
I always wanted to go to school in North Carolina actually, so I started looking at all the ACC schools and everyone told me, ‘you have to go to Virginia, it’s the best place.’ I got in contact with the coach here at the time and he was a really good recruiting coach, then the experience and the academics, it was hands down the best when I came out here.

Question: What’s the biggest difference running back at home at altitude and running in Charlottesville?
Fabrizio:
When I go home, it’s harder to run and you can feel it, but when I come back here it’s easier to run. The atmosphere when I run at home, its usually streets and dirt roads and here, we’re running through forests. You can definitely feel the difference going back and forth between the two.

Question: What’s your favorite part of Grounds?
Fabrizio:
I like studying out in the amphitheater on a warm day. Sitting out there in between classes, it’s just really pretty and it’s good to just hang out.

Question: What is your favorite class you have taken at UVa?
Fabrizio:
It was politics, political and social thought. I’m a foreign affairs major, so it was about society and what’s going on right now.

Question: What would like to do with your foreign affairs major?
Fabrizio:
I’m emphasizing my major on Africa and all the wars going on there, so I’d like to help out over there somehow, though not exactly sure doing what over there yet.

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