Calvary Christian Academy sophomore among elite runners in state

Even though her school doesn’t have a track to practice on, Alexandra Brizzi has seen great success in her track career.

Alexandra Brizzi won a medal for the second year in a row at the PIAA stat track meet. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Alexandra Brizzi hasn’t done it the traditional way.

But she’s certainly gotten it done.

Brizzi, a sophomore at Calvary Christian Academy, didn’t start running track until she was in seventh grade.

She does it only during the spring.

And even when she does it for her school, she and her teammates find unique ways to train because the school doesn’t have a track. Instead, the Calvary Christian team has to get their workouts in wherever they can.

“Last year, we would practice at Upper Moreland (High School), but this year we couldn’t do that because of insurance reasons,” Brizzi said. “We would just run outside the school. We would measure out the runs. It was different, we weren’t running on a track, but we were able to practice that way.”

It certainly didn’t hurt Brizzi.

For the second year in a row, she qualified for the PIAA state meet in the 100-meter dash, where she took third place in the 2A race. In doing so, she set a personal record, completing the run in 12.33. This is after taking sixth place as a freshman. The race was won by Girard College sensation Thelma Davies, who has hopes of competing in the 2020 Olympics.

“Running this year was a lot different, last year I was right in front of the TV camera and I was distracted,” Brizzi admitted. “And it was one of the first times I was running against that kind of competition.

“This year, I just ran against myself. I didn’t worry about anyone else, I just wanted to run the best race I could.”

It’s fair to say Brizzi hasn’t scratched the surface on her potential.

While she has great coaches at Calvary Christian and also had good coaches at her grade school, Maple Point Middle School, she’s been running only for four years. And she does it only during the spring season.

“I decided to run track because, growing up, I played softball and I was always really fast when I would run around the bases,” Brizzi said. “I decided I would like running, so I started doing it and, really, I was pretty good right from the start. But I had great coaches in middle school, and they helped me a lot.”

While she has put in a lot of work during those years, most elite level runners make track a 12-month-a-year sport.

She doesn’t.

She spends most of the school year competing in her other sport, cheerleading. In fact, during her first two years in high school, she didn’t even participate in indoor track, though she plans to sign up for it next year.

“Cheerleading is good because I’ve done dance and gymnastics,” Brizzi said. “We do two competitions each year and then we cheer at events like basketball games. I’m a flyer, so I have to know how to do everything. I like doing a lot of different things, so cheerleading is fun.”

While cheerleading is slated for the fall, this summer, Brizzi plans on possibly working out with a trainer to help get her times down.

“I just want to keep getting better times and setting personal records, getting better times,” Brizzi said. “In track, I’ve learned to compete with myself, that’s how you get better. I wouldn’t say I’m friends with Thelma, but I’m definitely friendly with her. She’s very nice. We’ll high five or hug after races. I see her at districts, too. She’s very good.”

This year, Brizzi added another event to her resume when she started throwing the javelin.

Last year she competed in the long jump, but because she hurt her foot, she decided to try something else for a fourth event, other than the sprints and the 4×100-meter relay.

Guess what? She’s good at throwing, too.

“I actually set the school record in that, too,” said Brizzi, who has the school record in both the 100- and 200-meter races. “I came in third place at districts in the javelin. I like doing it, I’m glad I’m able to do something besides the sprints.”

This summer will be the first time Brizzi will look to lower her times when she’s not running for school.

“I want to work on my stamina for the 200,” said Brizzi, who maintains a 4.333 grade point average in the classroom and attends Bible study once a week at the school. “I want to just keep getting better and keep trying to do better.”

She also hopes she can continue to be a good mentor.

When she’s not helping her teammates on the track team, she serves as a mentor in school, where she works with grade school students.

“We read the Bible, talk or play games,” Brizzi said. “Usually, we play games because that’s what they want to do. It’s fun, our school has sophomores, juniors and seniors who do it. It is fun because you’re working with the kids.

“I try to be a good leader on track, especially on the relay team. Some of them never ran on a real track with blocks, so I try and tell them what to expect. I help wherever I can.”