Coming off a redshirt year, Tasia Potasinski has been an integral part of the Cavaliers' relay teams this season. Winning the 4x800m relay title at the Hokie Invitational on Jan. 22 and finishing second at the Millrose Games on Jan. 29, Potasinksi was also a member of UVa's squad that won the distance medley relay at the Armory on Jan. 30.
The Cavaliers will return to New York City this weekend to look to improve their times and prepare for the ACC Championships on Feb. 25-27. Events this weekend will take place on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Armory.
Question: How excited were you to get out and race this year after not competing at all last year?
Potasinski: Not being able to compete at all last year was definitely frustrating, but I think it just made me that much more hungry to race. I was a little apprehensive about the first meet because I really had no clue what kind of shape I was in, but once I got the baton, all of the anxiety rushed out of me and I just raced. It felt really good to be back on the track again, and I felt like I hadn't missed a beat.
Question: Just a couple of races into this year, you competed at Madison Square Garden. Had you ever raced in such an event as the Millrose Games? What was it like?
Potasinski: Racing at the Millrose Games was exhilarating. I've never been part of such a prestigious race environment before. Seeing Bernard Lagat break four minutes in the mile on the same track I had just run on a few hours earlier really put into perspective how exciting the games can be. Watching Virginia's men's 4x800m relay win was one of the most exciting races I've seen in my life.
Question: Going back to not competing last year, what was it like to train without any competitions? Do you think it helped prepare you for this season?
Potasinski: The hardest part about training without any competition is trying to not lose focus. Doing an hour long workout on the track in 35 degree weather while it's raining is hard to justify unless you're crazy, or have something to show for it. It helped setting small weekly goals for myself and knowing that the injuries I had all last year were just small bumps in the road that lead me to where I am now.
Question: What did you learn in that year off?
Potasinski: I really learned to appreciate the opportunities student-athletes are given at UVa. Putting in the time and the effort at practice but not being able to travel to meets was a little disheartening at first. But I learned to take advantage of the time I was at school while the team was away to experience things that I probably wouldn't be able to had I been racing.
Question: Have your goals, expectations and/or workouts changed since you have races almost every weekend now?
Potasinski: Last year, I spent about half of my time on the elliptical or a bike. It's nice to only resort to that once or twice a week now. The workouts we do this year change based on what stage of training individuals on the team are in. For example, last week we did not compete on the weekend, and therefore our workouts were slightly more rigorous than the week before.
Question: You've been competing in relays a lot this year. Do you like relays, or is there a specific leg you enjoy more than the others?
Potasinski: When it comes down to it, track is mostly an individual sport. I enjoy running relays because it is the closest thing to being part of a team that you can come to in the track world. Running the anchor (last) leg of a relay is probably the most exciting leg of a relay to run. There's a lot of pressure on you to finish strong, but it is the most gratifying when you do well for the team.
Question: If you could create your own "dream" relay team, who would you choose and which event would they?
Potasinski: Ariane Sloan, Jen Hovland, Rosemary Barber and myself running the 4x800m at the Millrose Games. I'm lucky enough to have a dream team that actually exists.
Question: The championship portion of the season is quickly approaching - ACCs are just a couple of weeks away. How is the team preparing for that meet?
Potasinski: I just want everyone to compete well at ACC's. Time doesn't matter as much as place - it's all about team scores. I think the girls have a lot of room to improve from last year and I don't see why we shouldn't do some damage this year. We haven't really talked much as a team about the meet yet, we're still focused on the regular season. I know once we get there, we will be fully prepared.
Question: When you're not running, what are you doing?
Potasinski: Lately, a lot of reading, watching Lost and spending time with the best roommates ever. Probably an equal balance of all three.