Getting To Know USC Track And Field Freshman Giovanna Pisano
Joining the Trojan Family from San Antonio, Texas, freshman cross country runner Giovanna Pisano is looking at a promising season ahead. Getting the chance to sit down with Giovanna, I learned that she not only set records at her high school, Exeter Academy, with a personal best of 10.44 in the 3200m and 17:4 7 in the 5K, but also has a strong passion for science, coffee, cooking, and much more.
Q: Coming from Texas, how are you adjusting to the college life at USC?
GP: I went to boarding school in New Hampshire so I've already experienced a big transition phase going from Texas to New Hampshire and once again, from there to here ... but I kind of like that. It's a bit of a thrill and a great experience. I was excited to come here because of the environment and because USC has a lot of hype to it. I remember when I was first communicating with coach [Jebreh] Harris about coming here, it just seemed like an opportunity I didn't want to miss for the world. This sounds a little cliche, but I'm starting to understand the 'west coast best coast' slogan ... here are little things that are unfolding here and there that I'm really enjoying about living in L,A. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
Q: Going back to your roots, why track and field as your sport?
GP: I actually started running in middle school because I had been in an outpatient rehab clinic for an eating disorder, which kind of doesn't make sense because why would that lead to me running? But, I kind of begged my parents to join a team because it was something to do outside of therapy sessions and the medical attention. I was really enjoying [running] and I started playing other sports as well, like tennis and basketball, but running was the one I became the most passionate about. So, in high school I was pondering about running at a collegiate level and by senior year I very much wanted to make that happen. [Running] kind of started out as a silver lining. I like thinking about that sometimes ... like taking myself out of the situation of it being a sport where I have to compete and train for it and just remembering that at one point in time, this sort of saved [me] in a way that I appreciate .and I won't stop appreciating it.
Q: What event do you like to run best?
GP: Probably the 3200m or the 5K. I've only done the track 5K one time but it went well for it being the first time. Then, in the spring I ran the 3200m a lot which isn't a collegiate race, it's either the 3K or the 5K and there's also the 3K steeple so I have a feeling I'll be in that range for now.
Q: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
GP: I used to be super superstitious in early high school. I lived by the laws of superstition like black cats, 11 : 11 ... but not so much anymore. I usually always eat a bagel before a race. I haven't done this yet this season but in the spring, I would throw on a Peloton meditation before my race just to get in the zone. Sometimes people will listen to trap music or something to get them hyped up but I don't really like that feeling going into races. The thing is, I'm about to be running for over 10 minutes so, I don't want to be hyped before this mountainous level ... that's not sustainable. So, I'd rather go into a race feeling relaxed and try to hold on to that point where I'm still relaxed for as long as possible. I can't be blaring "I'm too sexy'' the entire 10 minutes ... that's not me, that won't work.
Q: I read that you want to start your own mug collection and invest in coffee shops. Where did this interest stem from?
GP: It sounds so silly but as I'm growing up, I've started buying mugs here and there just from places I'm traveling or if I waltz in some pottery shop. I'm a big coffee and tea drinker so mugs are a big part of my life I suppose. I don't know ... I just like a good mug. At home we have a mug cabinet and there are some mugs I gravitate towards but there are others I don't think we need ... Like why do we have these cheesy mugs? So, I'm really excited for when I'm older, an independent woman, and able to have my own mug collection that I can control which mugs are going into. I just like the idea of little, quaint coffee shops that are local and supporting small businesses [while] also doing what I love, which is drinking coffee.
Q: As a biological science major, runner, and coffee enthusiast, where do you see yourself in the future?
GP: I'm interested in medicine. Both of my parents work in the medical field so it's something I've been around for a long time, and I like the idea of helping people and being hands-on with people. I don't know exactly what I want to do but I think biotech is really cool and especially during the pandemic, it's been a booming industry. With that being said, I'm really open to other areas of expertise and that's why I'm excited for the biology program here because you can set up your schedule where you're dipping your toes in different pools and getting a taste of, molecular and cellular biology or marine biology or neuroscience and I think that's really cool because frankly, I don't have a clear cut idea of what I want to do.
Q: Where is your go-to food spot on campus?
GP: Probably Little G ... but I love cooking, that's my favorite pastime. I even have an album on my phone of all the food I cook.
Q: What is your favorite dish to make?
GP: I like making Salmon a lot but if I had a favorite dish, it would probably be eggplant parm. I don't foresee myself making that here though ... It's a little difficult.
Q: What are your goals this year?
GP: I focused on this a lot last year ... but just prioritizing myself. I have this thing where I like asking people random questions and so one I ask is, 'what do you think is something that's underrated?' and recently, someone said they think people struggle being with themselves and doing things alone but frankly, that's how I recharge. So, I think I want to continue prioritizing that for myself. I also want to cultivate strong relationships with people on the team and off the team, my coach, and ... professors may be a little harder but yeah ... actually putting in time, energy, and emotions into relationships I really care about. In terms of running, I want to get faster, improve my mechanics, and run a sub 09:50 in the 3K.