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Sophomore Vanessa Fabrizio (Denver, Colo.) recently talked with 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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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