Senior Spotlight: Denied shot at 3-peat, Brownsville state champ moving on to NC State

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 | 6:23 PM

Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was graduation day for the seniors at Brownsville Area High School on Tuesday.

The seniors went to a private ceremony at the school, and one by one they received their diplomas from the principal and had a professional photographer capture the event.

Later in the day, the seniors paraded through Brownsville and went to the Brownsville Drive-In to watch a video which highlighted their accomplishments.

One of those seniors who has accomplished a lot is Gionna Quarzo.

The North Carolina State recruit was looking to become a three-time PIAA and WPIAL Class AA 3,200-meter champion before the coronavirus ended her and other seniors’ seasons across the country.

How did graduation go?

I thought it went well. We had the ceremony in the morning and the parade later. It was different, which was fine.

How disappointed were you when you learned your season was over?

I was glad I knew before the season got going that we weren’t going to have a season unlike the swimming season where they were stopped in the middle of their championship. It was disappointing.

What were your goals?

I wanted to win another state title and break the WPIAL and PIAA records. It would have been difficult. The other thing was I wanted to run one more race with my sister Jolena (a freshman). I was hoping we’d go one-two in the 3,200. At least we got to run in the PIAA cross country championship together in the fall. (Gionna finished third and Jolena eighth).

Do you expect Jolena to carry the torch at Brownsville?

I think she’s really going to be good. She’s need to people around her to push her, but she can get that training with friends at West Virginia.

What schools were recruiting you and why North Carolina State?

My official visits were to North Carolina State, Mississippi and Syracuse, and I also talked to Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia and Kentucky. The three schools I visited were amazing, but North Carolina State actually didn’t put on a face. They acted differently than the others. The girls on the team were like family. NC State is one of the best programs in the country and I wanted to go south because it’s warmer.

What has the pandemic taught you?

To never take anything for granted. Run every race likes it’s your last. You have to stay positive and continue to work hard.

What have you been doing to stay busy?

I run a lot. I’m doing some workouts to get ready for college. I’ll do some workouts my high school coach and college coach have suggested. I also swim a lot. We have a heated pool.

The high school nationals are still scheduled for July. Will you participate?

My college coach said I could if I wanted to, but I’m declining. I want to devote my time to preparing for college. Because we haven’t had a season, I risked injury if I would have participated.

Have you been able to stay in touch with friends?

I saw many of them at graduation. I’ve visited with a few friends, but my mom is a nurse and she’s pretty strict about staying at home. It’s gotten better now that we’ve gone to yellow.

Where is a place you’d like to visit?

Australia. They recently had some bad fires that hurt some of the animals. I’d like to go over and care for some of the koala bears.

If there was one person you’d like to have dinner with, who would it be and why?

Colleen Quigley. She’s a professional runner and we’d talk about different race strategies and health foods. She’s got some great recipes and I’ve actually made some at home.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .


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