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April 13, 2012

Virginia track and field senior Maureen Laffan (Toms River, N.J.) recently spoke with about breaking her own school record in the hammer throw, choosing the hammer and more.

Question: You broke your own record at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational last Friday (April 6), what was your mindset like?
I just went in thinking about one thing, which was just countering the ball, using your body weight against the ball to build ball speed, and I think that helped a lot. I was a lot more confident in this meet and overall a good competition. There were a lot of girls there who were throwing well and I think I just fed off of them.

Question: There have been many school records broken and PRs set during this outdoor season in the throws group, does that help your confidence?
Absolutely. I think with all the records that are being broken, it builds confidence in everyone as a team, especially because ACCs are coming up soon. So it’s definitely a nice feeling to go in and break your own record and see your teammates breaking theirs as well.

Question: What do you think of the new facility so far?
It is awesome. It is more than I expected it to be, there’s a lot of Virginia all over the place. It’s definitely a good facility to end my college career and I think the track is also great.

Question: How did you get into throwing?
I started throwing in middle school. In eighth grade, a couple of my friends kind of pushed me into doing spring track and then I just kept throwing. I had a great high school coach and he motivated me and then it kind of just went from there.

Question: How did you come to focus on the hammer throw?
Last year, I focused on it a lot more. Coach Lane (former UVa assistant Carrie Lane) had me do it my freshman and sophomore year and then it just clicked last year. That had a big effect on me continuing to throw junior year and into senior year. She had me do a bunch of stuff (for the hammer) in the summer and when Coach (Ross) Richardson came, we focused a lot on the weight (throw) and it just built from there. I learned to love it.

Question: How did you end up picking UVa?
Mostly recruiting for track. The school is great and when I came for my recruiting visit, it was wonderful. I loved the coaching staff, I loved the facilities and I thought I would excel the most here, so I just decided to come and hopefully do well. I think I’m doing pretty well so far.

Question: What is the biggest difference between Toms River, N.J., and Charlottesville?
It’s a lot hillier here and it’s missing a beach. Charlottesville missing a beach is depressing to me because I grew up on the shore. Those are the biggest differences.

Question: What is your favorite part of Grounds?
I love the Lawn. It is really pretty and I like to do work there and just study.

Question: What is your favorite class you’ve taken at Virginia?
I took a Shakespeare class with Professor John Parker. I’m an English major, so I’m kind of a nerd for that stuff, but it was a great class. It focused a lot on Shakespeare’s poems and plays.

Question: What are your plans for the future?
I have a few ideas of what I want to do. I’m thinking about getting into publishing for a career, but I’d like to continue training after college, so it’s still not set in stone yet.

Question: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
I think individually I just want to keep building on what I’ve done and keep the success going. Just keep building on the success and as a team, keep helping them at ACCs and get us closer to a championship.

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