Sophomore Adams Abdulrazaaq led the men’s track and field team to it’s first-ever ACC Championship earlier this month, winning the program’s first-ever 110m hurdles title, before earning All-ACC honors in the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay that clinched the Cavaliers a portion of the title.
An NCAA regional qualifier in all three events, Abdulrazaaq and the Cavaliers will take this weekend off for exams before heading to Chapel Hill, N.C. for the UNC Elite meet on Friday, May 8 for final tune-ups before the ECAC/IC4A Championships (May 15-17) and NCAA East Region Championships (May 29-30).
Question: What was the pressure like prior to the start of the final 4x400m relay, knowing that the team needed a third-place finish in order to preserve the first conference championship?
Abdulrazaaq: The pressure was very intense, but my mind was ready and focused. We were aware that we needed to do our best and that we could win if we did well. That added a little more pressure, but the main pressure was to make it to regionals.Question: Describe your emotions when you first found out that the men’s team won a share of the championship.
Abdulrazaaq: The joy was overwhelming. I was so tired, but I was so excited and couldn’t help but celebrate with my team.Question: You’ve only been hurdling for about two years, what did you focus on prior to the hurdles?
Abdulrazaaq: Prior to the hurdles I was a man of many events. I was a 400m and 200m runner and I competed in many other events in order to help my team out.Question: What ultimately made you decide to change to the hurdles?
Abdulrazaaq: My high school coach was a very wise man and always told me I could do anything I set my mind too. I was already doing so many events, but he said being well rounded in track could help me to accomplish anything. So I tired hurdles and it just clicked.Question: Why did you choose to come to Virginia to compete?
Abdulrazaaq: I choose Virginia for the academic opportunity, because I am a student first and an athlete second. But running has always been a plus and I have been excited about my opportunities since the day I stepped on the Virginia track.Question: Being the first Cavalier to ever do it, what does it mean for you to have won an individual ACC Title in the 110m hurdles?
Abdulrazaaq: It’s a great honor, but it is not mine alone. It took the work of all my teammates cheering me on and all my coaches pushing me to be my best.Question: It’s a rare feat to have three All-ACC performances from an individual in one championship. What does that accomplishment mean to you?
Abdulrazaaq: It means I am just beginning to understand what it takes to be great. I still have a lot of work to do and have goals that are unaccomplished.Question: How has the change in coaching staff this year affected your training and performances?
Abdulrazaaq: My training has improved and become a bit more rigorous, but it suits me fine. I have also been strictly training for hurdles a lot more. Question: What is something interesting about you?
Abdulrazaaq: Well, I am the son of Schontel Abdulrazaaq an American and Ahmed Abdulrazaaq a Nigerian. My name is Adams Smithea Abdulrazaaq and it means “first man of many men to serve the one.” My whole family has significant names like that. My middle name is a big part of it too, because it was my grand fathers name.