In Arianna Braccio's freshman season with the Pirates women’s cross country team, she established herself as one of the Hall’s most gifted female runners, clocking an 18:30 race at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Invitational.
That time left her behind five others in the invitational meet. Braccio said that this was around the range she wanted to fall into but was not consistent enough for her to be happy with her current speed.
To improve herself in the offseason, Braccio returned to her hometown over the summer to work on her agility for when the horn blares for the first time this season and beyond.
“Over the summer, I definitely incorporated more hill workouts because my times at Van Cortlandt weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be,” Braccio said, “And that course being the hilliest we were on, I knew that was one of my weaknesses. I would run up the ski slope over and over.”
In identifying an area of her running that needs improvement, Braccio said she hopes that improving herself as an athlete will contribute to her team's success overall.
Everyone, athlete or otherwise, had to make adjustments during the pandemic. With the introduction of guidelines came complications for athletes that were otherwise not present in preparing for the upcoming season.
When asked what the most difficult part of acclimating to the the new safeguards, Braccio said it was difficult to practice around the Seton Hall area.
Braccio said her home had trails she could run without being surrounded by a massive amount of people. But apart from breathing through a mask, her greatest challenge would be adjusting from a low populated New Hampshire trail to a Seton Hall campus where a greater number of residents demand greater caution.
“There's a lot of people [at Seton Hall], so it's difficult to run with the mask,” Braccio said. “But when I'm not around people, obviously, I can take it down, but it's really difficult here because you're always around people."
Braccio said she understands there is room for development not only as a teammate but also as a team.
"I was looking forward to maybe doing the 1,500 meter because, in high school, that was one of the main events that I really wanted to do, and I went sub-5 minutes, so I wanted to see if I could go even quicker," Braccio said.
Among Braccio's goals for the year, one is to bear fruit from her offseason exercises and become even faster than she was last year, which is a simple yet important goal for anyone looking to run cross country. Whether she is aiming to improve her endurance or her speed and fighting to return from a knee injury, every one of her desires points toward her one overarching goal as an athlete: she wants to be the best she can be.
As for her desires for her team as a whole, she said she simply hopes for her team to have a season.
“We were robbed of our track season this spring because of coronavirus,” Braccio said. “On a team aspect, all of us were working really hard. It was really upsetting when we were told the season was canceled."
Dylan Patrowicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org