Virginia track and field senior Maureen Laffan (Toms River, N.J.) recently spoke with VirginiaSports.com 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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?
Laffan: 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.