There was a pattern to Gina Narcisi’s athletic life.
Run in the autumn. Run around chasing a ball in the spring.
It was cross country in the fall, then soccer when it warmed up.
That pattern has changed this year, and it was her doing.
The junior is a full-time member of Bloom Township’s track team now, wisely keeping an eye on the future.
Narcisi may be fast enough to make an impact not just with the Blazing Trojans now, but with a college squad down the line.
Soccer? She’s good, but the college coaches watching her from now on will be track and cross country coaches exclusively.
“I had a change of heart,” Narcisi said. “I played varsity soccer since freshman year, but this year, two weeks into the season, I decided it wasn’t where I should be, so I quit and came back to track.
"I’ve just done indoor track for the first two meets and then would go to soccer.”
The potential for a college scholarship is the reason.
“I’d like to major in pharmacy, either at Purdue or at Illinois-Chicago,” Narcisi said. “I was thinking of the future.”
And, to a degree, the recent past, specifically last fall’s Class 3A cross country sectional at Maxwell Park in Normal, where a spill caused by someone falling next to her cost Narcisi a likely trip to the state championship in Peoria after she had run 19:28 in the regional to place third at Turtlehead Lake. She finished 33rd. Placing 30th would have gotten the job done.
“I don’t know if it was because of the amount of girls concentrated in one area, but I knew I had to stay as far right as I could,”
Narcisi said. “And there was a little muddy patch. I’d say, benefit of the doubt, she was just falling, and I just happened to be there as she was going down. Then I went down and stumbled, and I didn’t get back in the race. I missed by three places.
“If anything, it was my own fault for not being there mentally. Maybe I should try to turn over one more time. Now I know I’ve got one more year to do this.”
To say the least, that was motivation through winter training, and helped push her to abandon soccer.
“Definitely,” Narcisi said. “I just realized how close I am to being right there with the best of the best. Maybe if I was conditioned differently. Soccer conditioning and this conditioning are completely different things. As one of my coaches said, you have to make this the best decision.”
The combination of what might have been in cross country and what could be in college has her singularly focused now. She won the 3,200 and 1,600 in the recent Lady Warrior Invitational at Crete-Monee, but wasn’t thrilled with her times (12:35.27 and 5:52.96).
“I have times I want to hit; 5:30 and under for the mile, definitely,” Narcisi said. “The two-mile I just ran to see what time I’d get. And I want to run the 800, so I’m hoping I can get into that.”
From the three miles of cross country to the metric half-mile, Narcisi will go to any length to succeed.