Running in the Fast Lane

Dec 09, 2022 273

BY: Silvio Laccetti

In the sport of cross-country running (XC), very few Italian Americans have made a mark. Indeed, looking down the list of this year's NCAA XC Men's Championship race, held in late November at Oklahoma University, very few Italian-American names appear. (This finding is based on identifiable surnames or other, personal sources.) The championship race was comprised of the top 250 collegiate runners from a pool of nearly 15,000 competitors.

Among the few Italian Americans who do appear in the list is Marco Langon, from Villanova University and the heavily Italian American town of Raritan, NJ. Barely 18 years of age, Marco is the 2nd fastest first year (true) freshman XC athlete in the entire USA!

His rise as a star has been meteoric since his senior year in Bridgewater-Raritan High. Oddly, at the start Marco was not ranked in the top 3 performers in his state. But, as he says, "That gave me the energy to prove the pollsters wrong. Being the underdog was and is a big motivational edge for me." As a senior, he was the undefeated NJ champion and the Gator Aide top runner in NJ. Marco crushed the hugely difficult state course, running the 3rd fastest time ever at that venue. As he predicted,, he "dropped a bomb" at the event.

Making the transition from high to college is not easy for most teens, let alone those wishing to compete at elite levels of sport. Undaunted, Marco's attitude was..."...there is always room for improvement." And improve he did. At this season's end, he finished 13th at the Big East Conference Championships. In the NCAA Mid-Atlantic qualifiers, he rose to 4th.At the national championships, despite some bad racing luck, Marco finished in the top half of the field, meaning that he was now in the top 1% of all collegiate XC competitors. Only one other true freshman - not of Italian heritage - outpaced Marco in this event.

Whatever the odds, Marco runs to win. So his next big challenge will be at the USA Track and Field Under 20 (years old) competition in Richmond VA. in January 2023. If all goes well, running against an appropriate age group, this determined Sicilian American has a great shot
at a podium finish. If so, then its on to Australia in February for the under-20 World Championships.

Forza Marco! You are running in the fast lane.

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