Monday, October 21, 2013

Andreuccetti Overcomes Adversity, Takes off Running

Athlete of the Week: Marisa Andreuccetti 2013
PALATINE, Ill. – For Harper cross country standout Marisa Andreuccetti (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Conant), her athletic career appeared to be in jeopardy in the fall of 2012. Andreuccetti, a forward on the Hawks' soccer team, herniated a disk in her back in October and was advised by doctors to give up contact sports.

So she decided to give track and field a try in the spring of 2013 as a recovery sport to be in shape for soccer. After excelling on the track in the spring, Andreuccetti figured cross country may be a good calling despite the fact that she had been playing soccer since age five.

Over the summer she tried to play soccer, but it was painful to play. Andreuccetti gave up the game she loved to join the Harper cross country team. The leader of the Hawks, Andreuccetti has been named the fifth Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

It became clear she had a knack for running in the spring. Her hard work paid off at nationals, as Andreuccetti was a member of the Hawks' 4x800m relay team that took home a national title. Additionally, she was on the 4x400m squad that earned points with a fifth place finish.

Even though she had a newfound passion for running, it was still difficult to quit soccer.

"When I told coach (soccer coach Dwayne Cruz) I wasn't going to be playing this year, I felt like I was breaking up with someone. It was heartbreaking," she said. "But he was really supportive. I love coach Macnider and feel like I made the right decision."

Andreuccetti has been a key part of a Harper team currently ranked No. 8 in the national poll. She has finished as Harper's top runner in four of the team's first five meets.

"I love the different sceneries we get to go to. It's just so beautiful being in nature and running," she said.

Athlete of the Week: Marisa Andreuccetti File

When the season started, she was the only healthy runner for the Hawks. Now, the Hawks have six healthy runners, including Stephanie Chaires (Palatine, Ill./Christian Liberty), who was on the 4x800m championship team. Newcomers Lori Delfin (/Wheeling) and Mary Piltaver (/Conant) also bring an added dimension.

"I love my teammates. They all have their individual specialties that make everyone so close and connected," she said.

Andreuccetti and her teammates race today at the Bradley Classic in Peoria before preparing for the Region IV Championship held in Joliet on Nov. 2. They will then travel to Northfield, Mass. for the NJCAA Championships on Nov. 9.

"I think we'll surprise some people out there. I think we have a shot to be in the top five at nationals," said head coach Jim Macnider.

Andreuccetti will compete for track and field coach Renee Zellner and the Hawks in the spring of 2014 and will still have a year of cross country eligibility for the fall. She plans on graduating after the fall 2014 semester with two associate degrees before moving on to Illinois State University. She hopes to someday teach engineering technology as well as physics.

If her plan to go to ISU comes to fruition, she plans on trying out for the cross country and track and field teams.

"If I don't make the teams, I'll join a club and continue running. I love it," she said.

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