Some names you hear all the time, and rightfully so. With such powerhouses like Fayetteville-Manlius and Saratoga Springs in New York, great runners can get lost in the crowd. Gianna Frontera of Neburgh Free Academy, grade 10, is proving she belongs in the spotlight. Her record is impressive, winning 12 of her last 13 races, coming in 2nd only once to Valley Central's Holly Cavalluzzo. Her times have been steadily getting better: she improved her time at the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship meet by 49 seconds faster than her freshman effort, finishing in 17:36 which was also good enough for the school's course record.
Frontera credits much of her new found success to her increased dedication,
"Each year as I have continued in the sport, I have become more involved in taking it seriously, in having a proper diet and training over the summer," Frontera said. "During the past summer, I ran more miles and was consistent in the training. Also during the summer, I went to running camps such as Nike and West Point, which really gave me the confidence I needed, and so that I could become more knowledgeable about my sport."
The race at the OCIAA champs wasn't without strong competition, however. Rival Holly Cavalluzzo, the only person to beat Frontera head-to-head this year, was pushing the pace early. It wasn't until half way through the race, as the pair disappeared up the hill, that Frontera took the advantage and passed Cavalluzzo.
"I was just trying to compose my self focus and stay calm, that really helped me," Frontera said of her race. "I just took off. During the race, just before the half way mark, I tried to relax myself and then pushed the pace all the way through the second half."
That push would lead her to the victory, finishing strong, about 30 seconds ahead of Cavalluzzo. Frontera was surprised by her time and the record she had just broken, on a day that made it even more meaningful,
"Its one of the most coolest feelings ever of being crowned the OCIAA Champion on your birthday," Frontera said. "I was happy how I ran and am just so excited on the outcome. I didn't expect that I would improve so much, but now I realize the hard work pays off. I'm so happy with the places I've gotten during the season so far, and it helped me to see that I have a lot more in me than what I thought."
Frontera's parents are her biggest support. It was her mother's own high school running experience that brought her to cross country. As a runner in California, Frontera's mother encouraged her to tryout in 7th grade for modified cross country, a passion that was obviously contagious. Frontera's father is likewise supportive, photographing every meet his daughter runs in, as well as diligent in collecting all the media support she receives. Only time will tell how this sophomore standout will progress in her next two years.
You can find Frontera's record below, highlighted by wins in the Varsity V race at the VVS Invite, a win in the Varsity A race at the Randolph Invite, and a win overall at the Brewster Bear Invite
|Corning, Kingston, O'Neil, Washingtonville Dual||Monroe Woodberry||1st||20:02.2|
|VVS Invitational||Verona, NY||1st||18:32|
|Sew, PB, PJ Dual||Plum Point||1st||18:43|
|All Hallows Invite||Van Cortlandt Park||1st||15:40 (2.5 mile)|
|MV, PJ, Bur Dual||Valley Central||2nd||18:10|
|Bobcat Run||Byram Hills||1st||19:12.4|
|Div 1 Conference Champs||Middletown||1st||17:24|
|Greenwich Invite||Saratoga Springs||1st||17:30|
|OCIAA Champs||Bear Mountain||1st||17:36|