Kate (Grogan) Fontanazza
(ISN) – LORETTO, Pa. – To celebrate Women in Sports, the athletic department has decided to feature different female alumni each week of February. Last week the feature story focused on a former dual-sport athlete in field hockey and lacrosse, Kate (Grogan) Fontanazza. This week’s feature highlights a former thrower for Track and Field, Amanda (Klingensmith) Martino.
In August 2003, Mandi came to Saint Francis from her home town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. She arrived with the decision to study biology with a concentration in environmental studies. Mandi also entered as a student-athlete on the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Team.
Adjusting to her academic and athletic workload, she admits, was difficult at first. When she reached her senior year, however, she mastered her time management skills. By then she had gotten involved with the SCUBA club, Omega Zeta Nu, Tri-Beta, and Cinema club. She was a stand out in the classroom and on the field as well. In 2006, Mandi captured the NEC Indoor Championship in the Weight Throw and the NEC Outdoor Championship in the Hammer Throw. In 2007, she captured the NEC Outdoor Championship again in the Hammer Throw. All three accomplishments were paired with an All-NEC First Team honor.
Mandi enjoyed the small town atmosphere of Saint Francis. She was proud to represent a school and program that was able to truly compete with much larger Division I programs. The close-knit environment of her team and the school also allowed for lasting friendships, as well as a broad support and networking system from teammates, coaches, and administrators.
Anyone involved in outdoor sports understands the factor weather can play. Poor weather can quickly lead to frustration and discouragement. Thankfully, time can provide perspective on memories and change them for the better. When asked about her favorite sports memory at Saint Francis, Mandi envisions being drenched, cold, and miserable at a University of Pennsylvania meet. Though miserable was an adjective she personally chose to describe the moment, due to the great company of her teammates and years to unthaw, it’s now one of her favorites.
To sum up the imprint athletics has placed on her life, Mandi said, “It builds character. After all, most of us don’t win all of the time! Sometimes no matter how hard you work you can still end up disappointed, but I think that is an important life lesson.”
Mandi left Saint Francis University and went on to Penn State to earn her Ph.D. in Geosciences and Biogeochemistry, where she graduated in 2014. She is now pleased to say she is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Biology Department, right here, at Saint Francis University.