Athlete of the Week: Olivia Montini ’26

Swarthmore Athletics

Olivia Montini ’26, a sophomore from Huntingdon Valley, PA, had a tremendous performance at the cross country NCAA Metro Regional Championships on Saturday afternoon. The standout finished in sixth place with a time of 22:11.7, setting a personal record in the six-kilometer race and earning her second-straight NCAA selection. Montini’s finish helped Swarthmore women’s cross country secure seventh place out of 28 teams. On Saturday, the all-region runner will represent the Garnet at the NCAA Championships at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. 

Sophia Vesely: Can you tell us about the team’s success at the Metro Championships?

Olivia Montini: The team did really well overall. We had a lot of [personal records] that led to people placing well and to our 7th place team finish, which we were all very happy and excited about. 

SV: How did it feel to finish in sixth place and earn a personal record?

OM: It honestly came as an awesome surprise. I went into the race just looking to stay on the lead pack and let them drag me to a top-seven finish, but I had no idea that the current pace I was going was on track to get me to a full minute PR.

SV: How did it feel to earn your second-straight NCAA selection?

OM: It felt really great. I wasn’t completely confident I would be able to make it this year since the region has become very competitive, but now I’m very excited to race at Dickinson this upcoming weekend. 

SV: What are some of your personal goals for the NCAA Championships?

OM: I don’t have any super specific goals going into this weekend, but if I were to aim high, I would like to make All-American, top-forty, which I think there’s potential for.

SV: What has been the highlight of the season for you?

OM: It’s always the team for me. The team culture is really the thing I look forward to most when I come to practice every day. Everyone is always encouraging and uplifting, whether it be in races or workouts. I think cross country is an extremely mentally challenging sport and to have a large team behind you is really an incredible thing. 

SV: Do you have any pre- or post-meet rituals?

OM:  I have a pretty loose pre-meet routine. I typically get a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and lock in while listening to music on the bus on the way there. At the meet, I typically go through the course in my mind and scout out some potential competition while my teammate Sophie braids my hair.

SV: Why did you choose Swarthmore, and what are you studying?

OM: I chose Swat because of the people and how close the community is. I am studying engineering, and the program here really intrigued me because it seems that you are encouraged to explore all aspects of the engineering department and beyond which is really cool to me. 

SV: What is your favorite Dining Center bar? 

OM: I really like the pasta bar at the World of Flavor. The ravioli especially slaps.

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