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Oct. 25, 2013

Freshman forward Riggs Lennon has stepped in and made a big impact on the Virginia men’s soccer team this year. A native of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and a UVa legacy, Lennon owns four goals and an assist this year. He took some time after the Cavaliers’ Thursday training session to talk with

How do you think this season is going so far?
Lennon: It is going pretty well. At first, we started a little rough. We are a young team and came out and played four top teams so we had a losing record. Since then, we have been unbeaten. We just need to get that extra push to get one more goal and avoid the tie and going into overtime.

Talk about getting the chance to play as a freshman.
Lennon: Whenever I get to go in, I just try to go out there and do my thing. I’m playing center forward now after switching from wing. I just try to get my body in the box and find a way to get the ball into the net.

What are your strengths as a player?
Lennon: I have a good left foot and can hold the ball up and get in the box. I can also finish my chances when I get them.

What brought you from Arizona to UVa?
Lennon: My mom went to Virginia, so she always wanted me to come here. When I was on residency, Virginia won the national championship the year I was there. I didn’t know about the team, so once I got in high school I started looking at them and they were the top team in the nation. It was a perfect fit once I came and visited.

Had you been here before your visit?
Lennon: When I was really young I came down here with my mom and just visited the campus, which was nice.

Have you ever played in the cold before?
Lennon: I have played in semi-cold, but not really. It is a big change. Today, my hands are frozen. I have to get some gloves, maybe some long sleeves. I’m going to be that one kid with everything on later in the winter.

What are your interests outside of soccer?
Lennon: My dad and I race off-road trucks. We went to the Baja 1000 last winter. So that is a hobby that I have started with him. I like just hanging out with my friends. I’m trying to focus a lot on my schoolwork because it’s a big change going to Virginia with the workload and everything.

Are the trucks like drag racing or off road?
Lennon: It is 1000 miles from Entenadas to the bottom of Mexico. It’s in the desert. It’s not really a course and you have to map it out. It’s a really long race and you have a co-driver. You have Mexican fans everywhere and they are trying to direct you the wrong way. It’s really popular down there. My dad races the biggest truck, which is the huge monster truck type of thing. I race a smaller truck so it doesn’t have as much power and suspension and I’m not going as fast, so it’s safer. But it’s still a lot of fun.

Do you get in any wrecks?
Lennon: I actually wrecked at mile 40. It was really scary. I flipped a couple of times, but the truck landed the right way and the car was fine so I just started going again. It’s scary though because you have to go before and pre-run so you know where the turns are. The day of the race there are a lot of people, it is muddy, and it’s a huge adrenaline rush.

What are academics like at UVa?
Lennon: It’s been really tough. I’ve taken a couple of hard classes so they give me a good workload. Midterms are coming up so I have had some late nights at the library. I’ve learned to not sleep as much.

What do you want to do in school?
Lennon: I’m pre-comm, so I hope to get into the Commerce school if I can. I’ll follow in the steps of Matt Mills and Matt Brown. Our team is pretty smart, so it’s good.

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