Foreign student impresses in transition to American cross country

Max Josef

Senior Chiara Visintini had always wanted to visit America.

This year, she was given the chance when she transferred to Redwood for the year.

“I’ve wanted to come [to America] since I was a child, and this was my opportunity,” Visintini said. “It is totally different. Everything’s bigger in America. For example, my school [in Italy] is only one floor.”

Put yourself in her shoes. Imagine moving to a new country and a new school, trying to make connections with fellow students and adjusting to a new culture, all in one year.

Joining a new team, especially in a different country, can be a daunting task.

However; cross country captain junior Gillian Wagner thinks that Visintini will be able to adapt to the different training in America.

“[Visintini] is such a hard worker. She comes to practice everyday ready to go,” Wagner said. “I don’t think that there will be an adjustment period for her. If she works as hard as she seems like she does, she should have no problem.”

Running in America is different because in Italy there is no high school running, only club, according to Visintini.

ARRIVING FROM ITALY, senior Chiara Visintini runs during cross country practice. Visintini has impressed her coaches and teammates with her work ethic.
ARRIVING FROM ITALY, senior Chiara Visintini runs during cross country practice.
Visintini has impressed her coaches and teammates with her work ethic.

“The main thing is that there are actually kids my age. [In Italy,] they are either mostly younger or older,” Visintini said. “Running is about the same difficulty in America, but in Italy all the running is done in the winter.”

Italian runners must decide whether to do track or cross country since they cannot do both like runners in America, according to Visintini.

Visintini chose to do long distance cross country rather than track while in Italy.

Cross country coach Laura Schmitt said she is impressed with Visintini’s performance, but this year’s varsity cross country team will be especially challenging to make.

“Athletically, she is going to be very good, but I do not see her having a big impact this year,” Schmitt said. “I would never even consider putting that kind of pressure on a new athlete. I always give my runners a year to get accustomed to the team.”

Despite the nervousness that can come with moving halfway across the world, Visintini has been very open to making friends and experiencing the culture.

Wagner has spent time with Visintini during practice everyday since the season started, and said that she is a great person to be around.

“She is super bubbly whenever I talk to her,” Wagner said. “She is super open and always wants to talk.”

Visintini will look to push Redwood girls’ cross country forward in the beginning of what looks to be another successful season.