Nico Fasanelli was named Ponte Vedra High School’s scholar athlete of the month for September.
Not only was he proud of being chosen for the honor, but he also took solace in the fact that he was the inaugural winner of the award that athletic director Michael Harrison plans to be a monthly occurrence, along with weekly honors throughout the school year.
The junior ranks at the top of his class academically and is a member of the Sharks cross country and track teams.
He happened to be around several of his teammates in the locker room when he first received word that he had been chosen.
“Me and some of the cross country guys were in the locker room, when someone came in and said that all of us needed to come and see the athletic director,” Fasanelli said.
According to Fasanelli, he was not sure what was going on at first, but once he started talking with Harrison, it all became very clear.
“It felt cool because this is the first one and they chose me,” Fasanelli said.
He started doing long-distance track his freshman year and then picked up cross country as well as a sophomore.
Being involved athletically is a rule that his parents have, and it has been in place for each of his four older siblings.
According to Fasanelli, the rule is there to encourage playing a sport whether it is school related or as part of a club organization.
“It is mainly for exercise reasons,” Fasanelli said.
He played soccer the past two years but decided to focus on cross country and track for this year.
While his sisters ran the shorter disciplines of track, he found that his niche was at the longer distances.
The primary differences between cross-country and even the longer track races is the time it takes to complete.
“Let’s say you’re doing the mile (run), well a track race is about five minutes or so, while cross country is like 18 minutes, which is a really long time,” Fasanelli said.
Continuing to perform at high levels both in the classroom and on the course can be a juggling act at times, but Fasanelli has learned to make it work with proper organization and planning.
“I usually have to be doing my homework throughout the day,” Fasanelli said. “Time management is a big thing. I’ve usually already prepped all my stuff the night before with my lunch and clothes packed. Sometimes I’ll even go ahead and put my bags already in the car the night before.”
Cross country takes place in the fall with morning practices, while the track season is in the spring with afternoon practices.
He gets up around 5:50 a.m. to be ready for 6:30 a.m. cross country practice.
Fasanelli enjoys math, as well as chemistry and physics, and even takes a college-level math course two days a week at the high school.
He has also been getting more interested in the aspects of computer science.
On top of all that, Fasanelli is also a member of the PVHS Hi-Q Club team, which is an academic trivia competition.