Sophomore Chelsea Ley (Woolwich Township, N.J.) recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about last Saturday's (Oct. 29) ACC Championships, where she finished 17th, and to talk about the rest of the season, including the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 12.
Question: Rate your performance at the ACC Championships, both individually and the team.
Ley: I thought we did very well and as a team we worked together really well, especially Katherine (Walker) and Barbara (Strehler), who I ran with the whole time. At points in the race, we were talking and it was inspirational and motivating to know that the team is there for you the whole time. We got to see where we are in the ACC and really in the nation. It was a confidence boost to see that we're in the top two in our region.
Question: What are your thoughts going into NCAA portion of the season, starting with the NCAA Southeast Regionals next week in Louisville?
Ley: I definitely think we can go out and win the region if we have better races. We ran great at ACCs, but we'll be in even better shape come Regionals, because we keep getting progressively better and better the way Vig (Coach Jason Vigilante) prepares us. Nationals, I think we should go in and want to be a top-10 team. It might be a little high, but why not? If we go in and win the region, we'll be pumped up and confident and if we're healthy and running as a pack as we have been, I think we can be top-10 at nationals.
Question: How important is it to race as a team instead of everyone going out on their own?
Ley: It's really important because that's the way we practice, running in a unit. So that's what we have to do in a race, make it like a practice and make it not that big of a deal and go out and do what we know we can do as a pack.
Question: As we get closer to track and field season, what is the biggest difference in transitioning from cross country season to track season?
Ley: Cross country is such a long season because you train for it all summer as well. For me personally, my mileage is much higher during cross country season so I feel during track season, you're gearing and sharpening your legs more for speed and quickness and during cross country season, you're getting the mileage in because it's a longer race.
Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Ley: Brad (Hunt), who was an assistant here at the time, recruited me. I liked him, liked the academics of the school and it's beautiful here. There's no other campus around here like UVa. Even for the trails around here for running, it's awesome. When I came (for a visit), I really liked the girls on the team and that's really what brought me here.
Question: What is your favorite part of Virginia outside of the track and field/cross country program?
Ley: I would say Charlottesville in general. I really like the atmosphere, the people around and it's an active community.
Question: What would you like to do after graduating from UVa?
Ley: I think I want to go back to New Jersey and find a job as a coach and a physical education teacher at a high school.
Question: What is your favorite class at UVa?
Ley: The sociology classes. I've taken a few of them and liked them because I can engage in them a little better and they're a little easier.