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Getting To Know USC Track & Field's Maya Lacamp

Oct 14, 2021

Coming to the Trojans from just up the I-5 in San Francisco, freshman cross country and track and field runner Maya Lacamp is another key cog of a freshman core looking to take the cross country team to new levels. Scoring 5th for the Trojans at the Riverside Invitational, we're sure to see Maya leaving people in the dust for years to come. I had the privilege of talking with Maya about her goals for the upcoming season, the emphasis of cross country as a team sport, as well as her love for ping pong and the Weeknd. 
Q: As a freshman here at USC, how has your adjustment been to college life thus far?
ML: It's been quite a change since my high school days for sure. It's definitely more intense here, the coaching and the staff here is amazing and very supportive, and I've never really been around a support system like this before. I'm really grateful to have such a wonderful staff and such a wonderful team, to help me get through my day. 
Q: So kind of talking about that team aspect, a lot of people don't recognize that cross country is a team sport, do you think you could take some time to explain why the team aspect is so crucial? 
ML: If you're looking at races, per se, the top 5 runners count in the scoring so every single runner counts in the race and it's a point accumulation to win. In terms of practice, I really depend on my teammates and they also depend on me to get through certain workouts, especially with waking up at 5 a.m. every morning. My teammates, who I room with, have really helped me start my day with a positive outlook on how the day is going to turn out. So without them, I don't know if I'd be able to do these practices by myself and be a successful athlete. Like, if I'm falling behind in a workout, my teammates will be like, 'Come on Maya! You got this!' and vice versa. The key to a successful athlete is relying on your teammates and forming really good relationships with them. 
Q: What are some goals you have both individually and as a team for the cross country season and beyond? 
ML: At the beginning of the season, I wanted to test out how I liked college running and I really, really like it. One of my goals was just to complete the season and see how good of a runner I could become, and change my work ethic in terms of time management, and waking up this early and organizing my time. Another goal would be making it to regionals and then further down the line, nationals. This year it's a very new team, there's a lot of transfers as well as a lot of freshmen, which has been different from the past few years. This is the first year of getting the base down, so I think this next year our goal is to make regionals and then nationals. 
Q: You were the founder of a ping pong club at your high school, for you what was the reasoning behind starting it in the first place? 
ML: I've always loved ping pong, I played with my dad everyday, we had a ping pong table in the basement and every day after I finished my work we'd go downstairs and play ping pong and chat about how school's going, and how his work was going. But also, at school I really missed that aspect of having activities to do with people, because the only activity was playing basketball, and most of the people I saw playing basketball were guys and I'd rarely see girls play, so I really wanted to be supportive and include girls. I wanted to play ping pong at school so I set this club up with my friend, and we held seven bake sales and raised enough money to buy a table and ping pong bats (paddles). And it was really nice to play with guys who thought they were really good, and then beat them. I was glad I was able to have that club throughout high school, it was a lot of fun. 
Q: Do you play over here at all? 
ML: It's a little difficult to find time, but once I organize my time a little better and figure out my whole schedule, I'll definitely try and find some time to fit it in. 
Q: I know the Weeknd is one of your favorite artists. Do you have a go-to Weeknd song that you use to get yourself pumped up or maybe a different artist? 
ML: Well, I love the entire album of Starboy, any song you play there I'll be pumped up, he has so many good songs that it's hard to pick one as my favorite. I do like listening to hardcore rap when I'm working out but if I'm just chilling or it's more of a mellow workout, I think he's (the Weeknd) a great mix of having rap as well as a melody at the same time. 
Q: In terms of food, what's your go-to spot on campus? 
ML: I would definitely say Cava, I discovered Cava last year when I was visiting my brother over at UCLA and I was so happy when I found out there was a Cava in the village. 
Q: If you were to describe your personality in three words what would they be and why?
ML: This sounds like a college question. I don't want to be cheesy. I definitely would say inclusive, I really try and make sure everyone feels included because I know how it feels at times to be excluded and it's really not a nice feeling, especially being on a team you need to include everybody, because if one person doesn't feel supported than I don't think the team will be successful. Secondly, I would say supportive because I receive a lot of support from my loved ones and friends, so I really try and give back to them too. For my last one, I'd probably say positive. Obviously, everyone has their bad days, but especially when adjusting to a new environment it's really important to stay positive and have a positive look on everything that's happening, because otherwise you'll be in a bad mood and it'll affect your performance, both academically and athletically, and no one wants that. If someone is positive it's easier for you to be positive.