CA: My role is to guide the freshmen. They don't know much of the team drills and protocols. I focus on instructions and act as a role model. I try to be inspirational and let them know that they can do it too.
AD: How much strategy is involved in running a cross-country race?
CA: A lot more than you'd expect. Basically when you get to the college level your physically there. There's a major mental battle and you need to start overcoming limits that you set for yourself.
As a runner, you need to focus less on how your feeling and (more on) how you can help the team. I'm always thinking ahead and you need to know where you are running and knowing your competitors.
I need to stay focused and not let my mind play games, staying focused and staying on the task and less about how you physically. I think cross country is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. Overcoming limits is something I struggle with.
AD: You do a ton of volunteer work. What drives you to spend so much time giving back?
CA: For me giving back is more about who I am and it's about one community and that we're meant to give back. It benefits others and it inspires people to want to be where you are. I realize that I'm a small part, but a small part can do a lot.
AD: Explain your passion for marine biology and how it led to multiple trips to the Virgin Islands.
CA: My passion for biology started when I was young. My mother is a biology teacher at Hollins University, in Roanoke, Virginia. I went with her (January)-Term class eight years ago in St. Johns to gather ideas she can use for her students.
Through the students, I helped being a part of it and started to get more involved. I was lucky enough to get credit for it in sophomore year as an independent study. I was thrust into it on my own and learned about the issues and settings and realize things that can be fixed in the marine biology field. There are 180 species of fish and their environments. I really learned about and cared for the fish, and I want to help them.
One thing I'm passionate about is biodiversity and dealing with the reefs and the change in climate. I want to teach the scientists about this issue.
AD: What do you hope to do after Guilford?
CA: After Guilford, I don't know yet, but I want to go to grad school for biology.
My future goals would probably to be an educator because it's in my blood. I would be the eighth generation of teachers in my family. I just love helping people learn and grow. I really want to engage the community and help next generation achieve the best.
AD: What's your favorite part of being a Guilford student-athlete?
CA: I think it's the perfect combination. I couldn't see myself doing just one or the other at Guilford. The balance is critical. I feel like I'm challenged mentally and physically. When I am drained in one area I have the other to bounce back. I get equally tired from doing both.
I'm really close with my professors. They really understand that I'm a student-athlete and they really work with me. I could have gone (NCAA) Division I for cross country, but I heard horror stories about how hard it was to do both, and how you really needed to pick one or the other. Being here at Guilford has shown me that it's possible to do both and that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and just need to realize that it's possible.
-Alex De Lia '18