East Carolina’s latest record breaker for track and field in the 800-meter, sophomore Stefano Migliorati, has had a different transition into being a college athlete than most others.
Migliorati hails from Calvisaro, Italy, and arrived in the United States two years ago to go to an American university. His transition has been hard particularly because he has had to learn a new language. English is his second language and he knew just a few words upon arriving. Migliorati says he still has trouble with grammar even though he has been working on learning English for two years. Over the course of those two years, and throughout training, his teammates took extra time to help him learn English.
Migliorati’s decision to come to America revolved around his athletic ability. He said it’s difficult to be a student of higher education, but even tougher to also be an athlete. So when he was in Italy he took some time off to focus on his education.
However, Migliorati noted that not having the outlet for athletics sometimes made staying focused in school tougher. His family helped him stay on track and were key motivators in his decision to go to college overseas.
“I really miss them, but it is interesting how the distance improved our relationships,” Migliorati said. “Every time I go home, it is a greater time because of it.”
Migliorati found his start with track at 16 and he worked up to being a top competitor in Italy. Two years later, Migliorati earned a chance to wear his nation’s jersey in the U21 European Championships where he ended up making it all the way to the final. His most recent accomplishment was breaking ECU’s 800-meter time for indoor track and field.
“His work ethic is second to none,” coach Josey Weaver said. “After his race, the first words out of his mouth were, ‘I can go faster.’”
Migliorati found himself just focused on the race itself and had no intentions on breaking the school record. He said he just wanted to go out and compete and turn in the best possible result he could in his favorite event. He has been focused on the team goal of getting to the conference championships, as well as revamping aspects in his own life to reach some of his own goals.
“In the last two years I changed things in my life inside and out of track,” Migliorati said. “But I believe that finding my balance has been the key to my success.”
Along with putting in the hard work himself, he has had teammates to push him. Migliorati finds fellow distance runner, senior Pol Solanelles, as a great source of motivation. Solanelles, who is also from Europe, came to America from Spain so there is that commonality to help bring the two closer together.
“(Solanelles) is always there helping me by pushing me along,” Migliorati said. “Even when I’ve thought I couldn’t make it.”
Migliorati credits his coaches for his success. Without them, he says, he wouldn’t be where he is now — at ECU, breaking records and helping the team.
“I have simply listened to his dreams and goals and helped him find a way to get there,” Weaver said. “I give all the credit to Stefano and he deserves everything coming his way.”
Overall, Migliorati and company continue to put in the work. The distance runners look to add to their list of records and victories with the opportunity to compete in the American Athletic Conference Championships at the end of the month.