CHICO – For Mario Giannini of Chico High Cross Country, the key to success is putting in the miles and sticking to it.
Giannini learned this a few years ago and now runs at least 50 miles every week to train for the competition. He has lofty goals set for himself for his senior year, aiming to finish first in the Division Three Cross Country State Championships and run about 15 minutes flat in the 5-kilometer run.
On Saturday, Giannini placed first in three middle school level competition at the Clovis Invitational in Woodward Park. Giannini ran the 5,000 meters in 15:26.6, beating the second-place finisher by 2.1 seconds. Chico High was the fastest time ever by an athlete and third fastest by a Northern section runner at the state meet course at Woodward Park.
Giannini said the race was one of the greatest achievements of his high school career, and his coach, Kevin Girt, said that Giannini won by running a “perfect race”, starting in ninth place after the first mile, and finishing in the final. Overtook the first place runner to enter. The quarter mile of the race.
“Upon stepping into the grassy area, which is the last 150m mark to go, Mario dropped the hammer and took a 2 second advantage over the previous leader,” said Girt.
Mario said he came to the race with no hope, no goals, but just wanted to race and compete. He thinks that was the key to Saturday’s win.
Despite missing his junior year of competition due to the pandemic, Giannini didn’t miss a beat and trained throughout. He would go on to run with his brother Charlie Giannini, a former Chico High runner who now competes with the Chico State cross country team under coach Gary Towns.
Mario said that Charlie’s success was his inspiration for beginning competing in cross country in junior high. When Mario was a freshman and Charlie was a senior at Chico High, both finished first and second in the North Section 3,200 meters, one of Mario’s most special races.
Mario said that the relations between the brothers are extremely friendly. The two are competitive but “not so much that it makes me dislike him,” Mario said with a laugh.
Mario said he hopes to continue his running career at the collegiate level like his brother has done at Chico State and remain competitive for as long as possible, but as a way to stay fit for the rest of his life. I see you running.
While Mario loves the actual activity of running and the parks he experiences on the runs, the people Mario has met and spent time with have been a favorite part of his high school experience. Mario said the biggest difference from his freshman to senior year as a runner is his teammates.
“In the new year, I focused a lot on myself trying to better myself,” Mario said. “All my team at the moment, they’re all my friends, so it’s a lot about helping the team get better.”
Girt said Mario leads by example, which is shown by his weekly mile habit and his diligent strength and abdominal exercises that he does every day.
“She’s a humble success, never looking to take pride from her teammates, but when she wants to win races everyone has seen the fire she shines,” said Girt. “His strength is inspiring and intimidating to his teammates and those competing against him… Mario is a rare athlete who deserves all the glory and recognition. It is because of Mario, and others like him, that Chico High has seen an unparalleled level of success in recent years.”
The preparations for the Athlete of the Week have started once again. To nominate an athlete from their school based on performance or what makes a team special, coaches are asked to email [email protected] by the end of the day on Saturday for a chance to be selected next week He is going. .