Monday, January 2, 2012

Piccirillo Reflects on Foot Locker XC Nationals

Villanova signee Angel Piccirillo reflects below on her race at the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals last month in San Diego. Piccirillo finished 13th overall, earning All American status.

Day before the race
We had our meal, and they also had a panel of athletes who are past or present Olympians, NCAA champions, record holders and Olympic hopefuls that all started in our shoes. We were assured that we were taking the first step to becoming just like them; I’m sure that’s what we were all dreaming of. It couldn’t have been more inspirational and kind of them to take time out of their busy schedules, especially with this being an Olympic year, to share their past trials and tribulations, successes and everything in between. This panel included some of the following professional athletes: Jen Rhines, Bobby Curtis, Jorge Torres, Adam Goucher, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Adam Goucher, Carrie Tollefson, among others. It was especially cool for me to meet Carrie Tollefson and Jen Rhines because they both ran for Villanova!! I was so excited to get to talk to them for even a little while because they were both so amazing and made sure I knew I had chosen the right school. After that, we headed to bed as quickly as possible to get as much sleep as possible because for tomorrow we were going to need it.

Race Day
The next day we woke up bright and early, were served a huge amazing breakfast and it was time to go to the course. I did do a shake out run for 10 minutes before we ate but that was nothing major and just to get the blood flowing early. On the bus ride to the course it was not at all like the other rides we had taken. You could tell everyone just sort of knew it was time to get serious, and there were the nerves. When we got to the course, there were already plenty of people there and the announcers had started showing clips of what we had done the day before and some interviews that had been taken.

Everyone was really just trying to focus on their strategy and race plan. We warmed up and then were lined up to be announced right before the race. I was really excited and nervous at this point to get going and start the race, and before we knew it it had started. I did go out nice and easy like I wanted to but I had underestimated the pace they would go out in. Don’t get me wrong, I was expecting them to go out fast but I wasn’t expecting them to go out as fast as they did. It ended up just being too much for me to make up in the end. I had gone there with some different goals in mind but the big one was I wanted more than anything to be All-American. I just squeezed in All-American by getting 13th, which I can’t say I was completely satisfied with, but no one close to me would let me be disappointed. One of the really cool things about this race was that my future Villanova coach, Gina Procaccio was there! It was awesome to see her and talk to her a little bit about my race and she got a chance to meet my coach face to face and hear some of the things I have been doing.

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