Athlete Profile of The Week

Carmen LagalaSport: Track & FieldYear: SophomorePosition: Middle DistanceHometown: Montpelier, VTNickname? And why?Most people just call me Carmen. Some occasionally call me Crazy. I’ll admit it, I’m a little weird. They’ve been calling me this since high school, and I never tell anyone it’s a nickname, they just sort of figure it out for themselves. You would never guess it unless you knew me, because I’m really shy around strangers.Favorite thing about running?It changes all the time, which I’d say is a good sign. I love the competition, I love the challenge. I love not knowing where the limits lie. People who don’t run or do track just don’t know how much goes into this sport. It’s not just running around in circles. It’s strategy, it’s a lot of specific training geared at peaking during championship meets, sometimes it’s intense physical pain, and it’s the toughest mental game I’ve ever known. And I love it all. The best feeling I’ve ever gotten while running was New England’s outdoor last year. I was tired and it was painful, but while I was running all I could think about was how there was really no other place I would’ve rather been at that moment than running that race.What you like best about UVM in general?Burlington’s a beautiful place, and the academics are strong. I think a lot of really cool and interesting people go to school here (no, I’m not sucking up), and I love representing my home state. I don’t feel too close to home even though I am (which is nice too). My family is close enough to come cheer for me and visit, plus my big sister Amanda’s about to have a baby, and it would just be a huge drag to have to miss that if I went to school far away.Would you consider Track a Team Sport?Oh yes, without a doubt. Who wants to get up and be at the gym by 7:30am without knowing that once you get there, you’ll be greeted by a huge group of all your groggy-eyed, grinning teammates? I know I speak for the whole team when I say we help each other improve. We’re each others’ biggest fans, best friends, and family.What is the most important (fundamental) role played by your teammates? I’ll let you in on a huge secret. For the first couple months of my freshman year, I wanted to quit. It was all so different from what I was used to, I didn’t know anybody and the team seemed insurmountably enormous, and I was nervous I would never be good enough. There are so many fears coming into a new program, and my team was what made it impossible for me to back out. As soon as I quit the bad attitude and really got to know my team, I realized they were some of the most funny, intelligent, kind, supportive, fun, beautiful people I’ve ever known, and I would never give up the opportunity to get to hang out with them every day. The most important role my teammates play is being my inspiration.What has been the best moment for you running track here at UVM?It’s tough to pinpoint just one, it’s only been a year and a half and there have been many. This weekend (Saturday, February 11) is really fresh in my mind. It was our duel home meet, hearing the team and crowd screaming and cheering louder than I’ve ever heard them before [and] during the 4 by 400 meter relay. I went through in one of my fastest 400 splits because of them.Other aspirations besides running?I’m an English major, film minor. I love creative writing, so anything having to do with that makes me happy. My plans for now are getting my Masters in English and a certificate to teach secondary education. I’m also playing with the idea of the Peace Corps, the Teach for America program, and teaching English as a second language in a Spanish-speaking country.