Athletes of the Week: Nychele Fischetti and Brooke Forsi set records for indoor track and field
Seniors Nychele Fischetti and Brooke Forsi look forward to outdoor track and field season after setting records during the indoor season. | Job Ang/THE CHIMES
The relationship between seniors Nychele Fischetti and Brooke Forsi did not begin when they first signed on as teammates at Biola as it does for most college athletes. The Alaska natives knew each other in junior high, raced against each other in high school and now look to lead Biola into the track and field outdoor season as teammates.
“We weren’t like close friends, but we always competed against each other so we knew who each other were,” Fischetti said. “I remember when she joined the team, coach had us get a picture together and we were all shy and then we came. It’s been really cool, we’ve gotten a lot closer and I never thought that that would happen.”
Forsi and Fischetti enjoy record-breaking senior seasons
This season the two were a part of two Biola records each at the NAIA 2012 Indoor Track and Field National Championships, one solo and one relay, and picked up three All-American honors each. They teamed up with senior Jane Kerner and sophomore Alexandra Sciarra in the 4x800-meter for a school record and Fischetti set the Biola record in the mile and Forsi did so in the 600-meter.
“It was cool because I’m so used to running with the older girls and feeling like they did all the work, but it was nice to know this year that we could do it without them,” Fischetti said. “Everyone for some reason brought it together on one day, which is hard for four people to do.”
With over half of the girls’ team from California, Fischetti and Forsi had different high school running experiences than most and understood the challenges of being a runner in Alaska.
“Instead of warming up and then working out, you are warming up while you work out,” Forsi said. “There were times in the spring when we would have to chip the ice off of the track so we could use it.”
The main difference is training and being able to train all year down here, while the season is much shorter in Alaska, according to Fischetti.
“Here it’s pretty much the perfect weather and you can train year round, while up there your seasons are really short and you just do your races. Here there is a lot of time for training and improvement,” she said.
The bond between the seniors is a strong one that has been nurtured over time through experiences.
“We’re actually really close,” Fischetti said. “It’s nice because we have done it for four years and things that would bother the younger people or get them stressed out, we have kinda learned to let those things go, so we’re more relaxed with each other.”
Outdoor season approaches and Forsi and Fischetti look forward to the competition
Coming off of a strong performance by the team at the indoor nationals, both Forsi and Fischetti see a new challenge that comes with the outdoor season.
“There are a lot more schools that participate in outdoor so the competition increases. There are still a lot of good schools for indoor, but even more for outdoor,” Forsi said.
With the competition difference, Fischetti described the bigger opportunity to excel in the indoor season, while outdoor is much more competitive.
“Indoor is a lot of fun,” Fischetti said. “Outdoor is the really big sport, people are a little faster, the times to qualify and do well are harder to meet. You feel like you are with way better athletes at outdoor.”
For Fischetti this outdoor season is also a chance for redemption and to make up for what she fell short in last year.
“I’ve done the steeplechase four years in a row and last year I was ranked high and I should’ve easily done well and I didn’t even make it to finals because I biffed it, I tripped in the prelims. I was devastated because I didn’t even get the chance to do a normal race,” Fischetti said. “I guess this year I’m looking forward to finishing out on a positive note.”
The pair can agree with most graduating seniors that Biola has not just become a place to study and compete, but it has become their home and their community.
“I’m always with people and they’re amazing people. [After graduating] I’m going to be working and living on my own and that’s gonna be sad,” Fischetti said. “The whole campus is my home.”
Forsi also commented on the impact the running community has had on her Biola experience.
“I’m gonna miss the quality of the people here. Ever since I came in I had the cross country community and the track community. I immediately had groups of friends that were all quality people and all Christian and had the same values,” she said.
Fischetti departs, leaving a young team behind
This was a different year for Fischetti as she took over as the eldest among the team and gained a leadership role, while in the past she has always looked up to the older teammates. Now that she is preparing to move on she sees a bright future for the squad.
“The cool thing about this team is that I see so many leaders. It’s not just one or two girls, but it’s almost all of them,” Fischetti said. “I’m really excited for them and they are all really excited to run and compete hard.”