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Alumni Athlete: Gia Monachino ’17

Alumni Athlete: Gia Monachino ’17

Gia Monachino’s '17 success led her to join the track and field team at Columbia University where she competed in the Ivy League Championships as a freshman.

This article was originally published in the 2021–22 Convent & Stuart Hall Alumni Bulletin as part of a story featuring alumni who have gone on to achieve great athletic success in college and beyond.

Most people know field throwing events like shot put, discus, javelin and hammer as disciplines that require great strength and power. But the technical and individual aspects of the sport are what attracted Gia Monachino ’17 when she decided to join the Convent track and field team as a sophomore. 

“I immediately loved throwing because it was just so different from what I was used to with volleyball and basketball, two sports that rely on team play,” Gia says. “I loved the amount of calm, introspective energy required for throwing.” With a singular focus on refining her technique, Gia quickly transformed from a raw talent into one of the top throwers in the region. As a senior, she set a league record when she sent the discus soaring 111 feet at a BCL West meet. Gia went on to become the Bay Area Conference champion in the discus and shot put before placing second in the North Coast Section discus finals.

Gia’s success led her to join the track and field team at Columbia University as a walk-on. She competed in the Ivy League Championships as a freshman and discovered her calling in an event that she tried for the first time in college. “My favorite event is probably the hammer throw because of how different it is from all of the other throws,” Gia says, adding that “one cannot simply rely on brute force or strength to excel in it.” 

For Gia, the past year has been a triumph over circumstance. After her senior season was cancelled because of the pandemic, she graduated and moved by herself to Paris to work as an au pair and teach English. Last summer she guided backpacking trips for high school students, still carrying lessons from her days on Broadway. Gia has taken longtime Convent & Stuart Hall track and field coach Mike Buckley’s tenet of mental toughness and made it ubiquitous in her life. “While this was usually brought up in the context of a hard workout,” she says, “I still carry this idea with me through everything I do.”