Virginia track and field junior Morgane Gay (Bethesda, Md.) recently talked to VirginiaSports.com to discuss qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile at the Flotrack Husky Classic (Feb. 11) and how earning All-American honors in cross country helped her track and field performance.
Question: How did you feel going into and during the mile at the Husky Classic where you qualified for NCAAs?
Gay: Going into it, I knew it was going to be stacked because I recognized some of the girls, but didn't actually recognize the pro runners because I don't follow it that closely. The rabbit (pace-setter) said she was going out in a 4:40 pace so I was like, ‘Ok, good,' but then the pro runners were asking for sub 4:30 pace, so I didn't know how it was going to go. I just tried to stay up as close to the front of the pack as I could. I didn't feel that bad and I just tried to close fast. Overall, it felt like a good race and I was happy with it.
Question: Has was your training ahead of the race and did you think expect to run that fast?
Gay: I try not to think about it that much. I think since I split around 4:42 in the DMR two weeks ago, I don't think I expected to go that fast, but my training has been going really well. My first workout was three weeks ago because I came back late from break, but my training has been going really well. So while I did not fully expect it, I was really excited.
With the NCAA automatic time clinched, does that take pressure off the next race?
Gay: I'll be honest, I pretty much run as hard as I can every time, but as far as mentality, ACCs is the next one and I know that I've never actually run a mile indoors in college before this (past) race. I think that the prelims for the mile at ACCs are going to be really tactical, so I'm not really going to run fast, but I'll have Coach (Todd) Morgan to help with that. I am really happy I got the auto though, because it prevents me from having to travel to Notre Dame, so it does take a lot of stress off me. In terms of racing, I think I'll go out at the same mentality that I usually do.
Do you think being an All-American at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and having a strong end to that season has helped your indoor season?
Gay: I think it definitely did. I don't know that I expected it too, but it makes sense. In the past years, I didn't have much confidence going off of the NCAAs because I never really did that well. Having a good season definitely helped my confidence and training because my cross country training went better than it ever had. Hopefully I can continue to do well.
Which of the three competitive seasons do you prefer most?
Gay: I think outdoor because in high school, I loved cross country, but then I fell in love with track when I came here a lot more than I had in high school. With outdoor, it's just fewer laps and I love the 1500. And being outdoors, there's just something about it.
What is your favorite part of Grounds?
Gay: My favorite spot is O-Hill. It's this one-mile trail loop we have, and that's where I take my dog. I have a one-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever and that's where I get my ‘me' time and walk around.
What is your favorite class you have taken at UVa?
Gay: I really enjoyed anatomy because I'm going to physical therapy school eventually and I'm really interested in it.