Senior Lauretta Dezubay was the Cavaliers' top finisher in four meets last season, including winning two individual titles - the Lou Onesty and George Mason Invitationals. In a season in which Virginia's cross country program had to adjust to a new head coach, the women won its first-ever Southeast Region title and advanced automatically to the NCAA Championships - finishing 26th overall. VirginiaSports.com checked in with Dezubay to chat about her final cross country season and the upcoming year. The Cavaliers will open the season hosting the annual Lou Onesty Invitational at Panorama Farms on Saturday. Races are set to begin at 10 a.m.
Question: You have one year under your belt with head coach Jason Vigilante now. How would you sum up last year with how the transition went and how the women were able to achieve the level of success that they did?
Dezubay: The past year was definitely an adjustment period for the whole team. Whether it was the first years coming in to college and collegiate sports, or those of us who had been on the team and had to get used to some changes. Coach Vigilante was good about keeping the cross country season structure similar to years past, but with his own training philosophy. It was his first year coaching women too, so I think that made it harder for him than it was for us. He did a good job helping the women's team work together, especially during championship season.
Question: What are your expectations for this year now that you understand where Coach Vigilante is coming from and where he's trying to take the program?
Dezubay: Coach Vigilante makes it clear that everything we do is for the team. The expectation is that if what he asks of you, if you do it for the team, then success can be reached.
Question: What kind of team is returning for the women this year?
Dezubay: We lost one fifth-year senior, but return the top six finishers from regionals last year. We also got a stellar transfer to add in the mix and our first-year class is loaded with talent. I think the combination of that with the strength everyone else gained over the past year will really help us.
Question: What do you think the team's greatest strength is this year?
Dezubay: I would have to say our depth. This is one of the first years where it's hard to tell who will be in the top seven. Everyone is working out together and looks really strong.
Question: You won the individual Lou Onesty title last year, leading the women to the team championship, as well. What are you expecting out of this year's season opener?
Dezubay: It has been awhile since I've raced. I'm looking to just see where my fitness is. The past month has been full of adjustments - I'm full-time student teaching physical education and have had to adjust to a new workout schedule.
Question: You're about to begin your final year as a Cavalier. What are some things you'd like to accomplish before you're finished?
Dezubay: I would love to win ACCs as a team in cross country, as well as match or better my individual performances at ACCs and regionals. An All-America honor is the ultimate accomplishment.
Question: Do you know if you'll be granted another year of track eligibility?
Dezubay: I think I will get the medical redshirt back from track. If I do, I will compete during the outdoor season. I'm not even thinking about what will happen if I don't get the season back. Positive and optimistic thoughts only!
Question: What has been your greatest moment as a Cavalier so far?
Dezubay: Winning the regional meet in cross country last season was the greatest moment. The whole trip was so memorable, from the race to the dinner hosted by Trey Miller's parents the night before the meet. Even the hotel we stayed in had these awesome suites; our shower had 17 showerheads. After the nasty mud from the course, it was the best feeling ever.