Getting to Know Gigi Maccagnini from USC Track and Field

Athletics | September 23, 2021

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with first year USC cross country runner Gigi Maccagini, joining the Trojan family from Melbourne, Australia. We talked about his adaptation to life on campus, from the 800m jump to 5K and 6K cross country competitions, his commissioning at CAVA, and much more. Gigi was USC’s fastest runner in each of the opening two games, finishing 12th at the Mark Covert Classic 5k (18: 38.40) and 24th at the Riverside Invitational 6k (21: 09.4). This incredible Aussie is sure to tear things up here at USC, so be sure to watch her closely or she’ll run past you!

Question: As a freshman at USC, how was your adjustment to college life?

DG: It went pretty well, actually. Not quite homesick yet, which is obviously good. I think the girls on the team helped me a lot, they just greeted me and just said you know you are here with us and we are going to be watching you especially the older girls so that was really good.

Question: One of the great things you typically see on cross country teams is higher mileage in the summer to prepare for the fall season. I know when you came to USC you were an 800m runner, was that process difficult for you?

DG: It’s actually quite interesting, Coach (Jebreh) Harris spoke to me and told me not to do high mileage, we’re just going to take it slow because we don’t want to burn out, given that we’re still in season being both track and cross country athletes so during the summer I was doing recovery runs as well as a lot of cross training: but since we’ve been here it’s just intensified , it’s definitely stepped up.

Question: You have done well so far, both personally and as a team. Do you feel like you have an extra responsibility being one of the fastest runners on the team, even in your first year?

DG: Listen, responsibility is a big word. I mean, it’s not pressure, but I want to do the best I can for the team. In the last race it was about staying together as I’m still relatively new to cross country competition so I stayed with the girls for the first two miles and then for the last 2k or 3k , I took off and tried to grab as many people as possible in front of me.

Question: Considering you’re also an 800m runner, must that give you that kick at the end of the run that a lot of other girls might not?

DG: I mean maybe, but when it’s 6 miles, there’s not a lot of speed involved, she laughs. It probably is, but honestly it’s probably more my competitiveness that comes into play like Jesus, we’re going there, we’ve got to do something here …

Question: You said your favorite dish is Vegemite on Toast, can you explain why exactly that is?

DG: If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m Australian so I’ve grown up with this my whole life. I know you probably don’t like it and most Americans probably don’t like it, but as kids everyone is just raised on Vegemite with toast, and so literally before every session. ‘training I brought my two jars of Vegemite and so before each workout I have my piece of bread, some vegan butter (because I’m vegan) and my Vegemite so I’m good to go.

Question: What are your goals, both individually and as a team?

MG: Personally, I never set goals for myself, but then I came to USC and spoke with Coach Harris and the first thing he asked me was what your goals were (laughs) . So we kind of talked about that, and he’s taking care of building this program from a distance and I’m really excited to be a part of it and build it together, where we just want to score a point at the national championships for the distance. . I don’t know if it will be this year or in the years to come, but I really want to get to the nationals, I want to score a point for us at the nationals, and I want to try to go as far as I can (in terms of laps) in the NCAA and want to run as fast as I can, although preferably in the 800m rather than the 1500m (for the track).

Question: What’s your favorite place on campus for a bite to eat?

DG: Ah that’s a good question. I should say probably Cava. I downloaded the app, so I don’t stand in line in this queue, and as soon as I put it on my phone, I go from my dorm to the village and have my Falafel Bowl with a mixture of brown rice and supergreens .

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