Setters Profile: Sara DiGiovanna

JAMES MIRANDA, Sports Editor

When senior Sara DiGiovanna of Pace’s cross country team used to run down the first base line in softball games, she never thought she would be sprinting towards a finish line at cross country meets.

Born and raised in New Mexico, DiGiovanna was born to Joan DiGiovanna, a native New Yorker. She has two older siblings, Krystal and Brian DiGiovanna, who were both gifted athletes in their respective sports, with her being the only runner.

“I was raised in a single household, so it was my mom, brother, and sister and they have always been so supportive growing up,” DiGiovanna said. “When you have a single-family, you all have to take care of each other. They guided me through sports.”

After every race DiGiovanna phones her biggest fan, her mom, a tradition that started in eighth grade and has lasted to present day

DiGiovanna stumbled upon running in the eighth grade when her softball coached advised her to stay in shape during the offseason.

“My [softball] coach suggested that I take up cross country in the offseason just to keep up with stamina,” DiGiovanna said. “I absolutely hated running at first actually, but I ended up being really good at it and I eventually had to choose between running and softball.”

She learned to love running and the adrenaline rush it gives her.

She’s been playing sports ever since she could walk. In her sophomore year of high school, she fractured her knee and the doctors told her she had to choose between softball and running.

“I fractured my knee playing softball and the doctors told me I could not play both,” DiGiovanna said. “I could have played softball, but running gave me more of an opportunity, I love it more, and it is something I’ll stick with for the rest of my life.”

The five-foot-four runner has given a lot to the game and the game has given a lot back.

On Sept. 19, DiGiovanna set an NE-10 record time for the 5K race at the Long Island University Post Invitational. She ran an 18:58 and beat ex-teammate Briana Cano’s 19:05, who set the record back in 2010.

Even with this accomplishment, she remains unsatisfied; she knows that she could have done much better.

“I was happy to break the record, I did not do as well as I wanted to,” DiGiovanna said humbly. “I wanted to do better. A fourth place finish with a sub-19 [time] made me happy, but it did leave a bitter taste in my mouth.”

She stated she wants to be the first Pace runner to finish All-Conference or All-Region—the final two races of the season—and make it to Nationals. She feels this year is the best team Pace has ever had, especially under head coach Alex Bean.

DiGiovanna also credits Cano with a lot of mentoring. When DiGiovanna was a freshman, Cano was a senior and set forward what a hard working, humble, and dedicated athlete should look like.

“[Cano] mentored me so much. We had a lot in common and she always held me accountable for the potential I had,” DiGiovanna said. “She was the type of person that would show up on the team and make you want to be a better runner. She was one of the best runners Pace has ever seen.”

Unknowingly, DiGiovanna took over Cano’s spot on the team, and now finds herself aspiring to be remembered similarly.

She is big on the mentor role and she herself looks up to professional runners.

“I am strongly influenced by professional runners like Steve Prefontaine or Kara Goucher,” DiGiovanna said. “Running is a tough sport. It takes your entire life [to master] and is not like other sports where you can play a game, go out that night, and practice the next day perfectly fine.”

The marketing major focuses on sports and even has an internship with her favorite baseball team the New York Mets, despite being from New Mexico.

“It has nothing to do with the internship, although I am so glad I am working with the company that I love,” DiGiovanna said. “My family is from [New York] and my mom is such a diehard fan. We have stadium seats from Shea [Stadium] in the backyard.”

Through her internship, she has met every player on the Mets and believes that any other sport besides baseball is irrelevant.

On bus rides, she reads books, listens to the classics such as Frank Sinatra, and watches motivational YouTube videos of her favorite runners to get her pumped before meets. She loves reading books because she loves to learn lessons vicariously through the books’ characters.

DiGiovanna is not simply running to first base anymore. She has found home plate and is sprinting towards it.