Senior Spotlight: On Track with Megan Giovanniello
Florida Atlantic track and field athlete Megan Giovanniello began running at the age of nine years old and it was into something she would soon fall in love with.
“I started at a very young age, I didn’t really have that much experience, I started out playing soccer and that’s kind of what intrigued me to start running,” Giovanniello said.
The student-athlete started her cross country career before running any other race and just admired how everything that she worked for, it showed. But, one of the most rewarding parts of joining this sport, for Giovanniello, was her ability to cultivate new relationships between her teammates and coaches.
In fact one of the most influential people in her life and athletic career was a combination of her very first coach, Grant Stanis who was a critical, yet passionate type of coach.
“He really did care about us and he really did push us to be our best and at the end of the day, that was all that he could have ever asked for,” Giovanniello said. “To run for some[one] like that was just a really great stepping stone and laid a really good foundation for me.”
She felt that her late high school coach Jeff Sommer, who passed away during her 2015 state meet, was a one of a kind person who was kind and caring but who also had so much experience. Sommer would help them in areas such as cutting off a couple of seconds from their run time and anywhere he could see improvement could be made.
“He was the best coach I ever had,” Giovanniello said. “His biggest thing was [never] about winning, it was how he could progress his athletes to get to that next level.”
Individuals will enter the lives of others as teachers and lessons and that is what Sommer was to Giovaniello and the rest of her high school team, as there are things he has said and taught her that she still carries with her to this day.
“He always said that ‘the one thing that people are going to remember most is how you made them feel’ and to this day I always hold that in the back of my mind and that’s probably one of the main things I say to myself on a day to day basis,” Giovaniello said.
She currently runs the 800 as a member of the Owls team, and has focused on this run her entire collegiate career due to a couple of her interests such as weightlifting.
“On our speed days I found myself really enjoying practice on those days rather than a four or five mile run. There’s something about the 800 that I just really enjoy,” Giovanniello said.
It is sort of a middle ground between sprinting and running at a longer distance.
Though competing can be fun, there are times when facing the opposition of success can come into play– at the end of the day losing is always on the other side of winning, so practicing can always make for improvement even if it gets tough.
“There could be a given week or two, or even a month where you’re just kind of stuck in this rut and you could be putting so much effort at practice and then you’re not really seeing results on meet day,” Giovanniello said. “That could be really frustrating especially if you’re in constant communication with your coach and trying to work out of that rut.”
Giovanniello feels it’s important to keep working hard and remind oneself that this is all for a reason, eventually you will see the results that you desire, but it is normal to face some trials throughout your race– even off the track.
“I always say that running is a lot like life, you’re going to have your ups and downs, every single race or practice can’t be perfect. So, you just have to learn from it and grow from it.”
When the senior is not competing on the track, she is focused on her studies as a psychology major where her aim is to become a sports psychologist. Aside from sports and her education, Giovanniello likes to go to the gym, the beach, read and spend time with friends.
“I can’t just give up, I have to keep trying, keep persevering. I think track really taught me that at a very young age,” Giovanniello said. “I’ve always had this mindset if you keep working hard the results will come and it always does in track & field and it will in life.”
Though Giovanniello isn’t sure if track will be in her far future, she is certain that the lessons she’s learned from the sport have helped her vision and outlook on life. She realizes that there will be days when it isn’t always your day– may it be on the track, at practice, or in real life– in either aspect.
She will be graduating this April where she plans on pursuing a career in sports psychology as it is her hope to work with athletes at the high school or university levels. Her drive is providing a means for athletes to have access to resources within their environment that can help them with whatever situations they’re facing outside their sport of choice.
“I just haven’t looked back since. My goal was always to be a collegiate athlete and to go division one was such a great opportunity and such a blessing– really– I couldn’t be more thankful for what this sport has given me,” Giovanniello said.