Finding his stride
December 6, 2012
Garret Migliozzi has been running cross country for six years, but it wasn't until last season that he truly found his stride. Now that stride has carried him all the way to the CIF State meet.
Migliozzi, a junior on the Nevada Union cross country team, has impressed all season, constantly obliterating personal and school records on his way to earning himself a spot in the state meet today at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Migliozzi paved his way to the state meet with a first-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Subsection meet and a third-place finish at the section meet Nov. 10.
"He decided he wanted to be the best and that he wanted to win state," Migliozzi's father Ralph Migliozzi said.
Garrett said his goal this year is to set a new PR and that he would possibly make a run at a state championship in his senior year. Garrett has set his state meet goal at 15 minutes, 20 seconds. That would be 22 seconds better than his career PR, which was set on the course he will be running on today.
"For me, it's about time and not place," Garrett said. "That's next year."
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Making a 22-second leap on the same course in the same season may seem over-ambitious but not for Garrett. After clocking a time of 17:10 in his first race at Folsom, he returned with a time of 16:27 the second time he competed there.
NU cross country and track coach Sarah Freitas said she thinks Garrett will reach his goal of 15:20 and even believed it to be a modest goal for him.
Freitas said if Garrett meets his goal, it should put him in the top 20 at the state meet. Freitas also said that Garrett is just now finding his groove and has a high ceiling when it comes to running.
"He has so much power," Freitas said. "His build is slight, but he is so explosive. He has this turbo. When he accelerates, he's better than any other runner I've seen at this level."
Ralph Migliozzi said Garrett's hero is deceased running legend Steve Prefontaine and that Garrett hopes to attend the University of Oregon after graduation.
Freitas said when she watches Garrett run, it reminds her of Prefontaine.
"When he races, I think Prefontaine," she said. "He just goes 100 percent out there."
What has made Garrett such an impressive runner has been his dedication to the sport, Freitas said.
"He has been working toward this since he got started at NU," she said. "He doesn't miss practice, he does what we ask of him, and he knows what he wants."
This year alone Garrett has set NU school records for courses at Folsom, William Jessup, Frogtown and Clovis.
Part of what has made Garrett such a running success is his ability to take risks on the course that others wont, he said.
"I'm a risk-taker for sure," Garrett said. "Some people may hesitate. I don't."
Garrett isn't the only Migliozzi to stand out at NU, as his sister Natalie competed in the high jump and long jump for the track team, making it to the Sac-Joaquin Masters track meet as a senior. Natalie currently is on the track team at Northern Colorado.
Garrett's junior season will come to a close as he attempts to run down his goal today at Woodward Park in Fresno.
But no matter what happens today, Garrett's future in running is bright, said Freitas.
"He's not going to reach a plateau anytime soon," she said. "Each year, he will get stronger and stronger. He is far from peaking."
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.