Steven Rizzo describes becoming a runner as happening “almost by accident.” Though the senior economics major from Wappingers Falls, New York, always had a passion for running, he did not initially intend on pursuing the sport. When he first joined his junior high school’s track team in seventh grade, Steven had his sights set on becoming a soccer player instead of continuing running. But Steven missed the first few days of his high school soccer tryouts. He recalls not wanting to simply show up to the last day of tryouts, mindful of his peers that had shown up in days prior.
With his plans of playing varsity soccer put aside owing to simple bad timing, Steven continued running cross country. At first, he told his high school coach he was running to train for soccer next season—but with time, Steven fell head over heels for a sport that he never thought he’d keep playing, and with a team he never thought he’d meet—just as his high school coach predicted he would. Today, he is a record-breaking captain of the Marist College Track and Cross Country team. “It’s hard once you get into it to stop,” Steven said. ‘It’s like anything you’re passionate about, you don’t want to ever stop doing it.”
‘THE MESSAGE IT SENDS’—Steven’s passion and natural aptitude for running have taken him innumerable places—he has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s Cross Country and Track Division 1 Team. Steven mentioned that he doesn’t measure his life in regards to medals or awards—he claims that he is proud of this achievement for an entirely different reason. “The reason why I like [CoSIDA] is the message that it sends. It incorporates the importance of pursuing a well-rounded lifestyle,” he said. “You can be passionate about three things and balance it in a way that would make you successful in each individual category.”
Steve Rizzo's Childhood Image
"As much of a personal honor as it is for me, this distinction does a much better job of reflecting the people who have inspired me throughout the years and consequently played a key role in helping me grow as a person."
Recently, Steven added another noteworthy achievement to his already lengthy list; he was named a finalist for the collegiate division of the 14th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup by Athletes for a Better World. This honor, considered one of the most prestigious in intercollegiate athletics, is awarded to a nominee that excels and “displays character, teamwork, and citizenship,” according to Athletes for a Better World. Currently, Steven is one of four college-level finalists; the winner will be selected on April 25 in Atlanta, Georgia.
“As much of a personal honor as it is for me, this distinction does a much better job of reflecting the people who have inspired me throughout the years and consequently played a key role in helping me grow as a person,” Steven said while reflecting on being named a finalist. Steven has said that he has had several mentors, including Coach Colaizzo, who has been the Marist College Track and Cross Country Coach since 1991, former Marist professor Tim Massie, his high school coach, and his parents. According to Steven, all of these people have one thing in common—they all went out of their way to invest their time and energy into students or other people in their lives to make a difference.
Throughout his four years at Marist, Steven has held many significant roles within several organizations on-campus, lending his outstanding leadership and communication skills with these groups. He is a Captain of his team, student-athlete peer mentor, and has participated in Student Government Association as well as Residence Hall Council. He is also heavily involved with the School of Communication & the Arts’ Center for Social Media. According to Colaizzo, this array of extracurricular involvements is part of what makes Steven who he is.
Steven Rizzo, a captain of the Marist Men's Track & Field and Cross Country team, is a true go-getter. He was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s Cross Country and Track Division 1 Team, and is a finalist for the 14th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. Humble and outgoing, Steven takes a well-rounded and passionate apporach to everything he does, from extracurriculars to races and more.
BALANCE—“Steven approaches every aspect of his life the same way,with great vigor, enthusiasm, loyalty, and love. It doesn’t matter what’s he doing—important, trivial, everything in between—Rizz takes the same approach and it’s awesome,” Colaizzo said. To Steven, taking a balanced approach to life is most important. Steven has mentioned that, while his extracurricular involvements all have their own distinct goals, “[they] really give me a chance to make relationships,” which is the most important thing to him. Through these different facets, Steven has had the opportunity to work with his peers and teammates not only to effectively achieve a goal, but also to learn and grow together.
Highly motivated, Steven has stated that his main aspiration is to have impact beyond himself. “If there’s one thing that I’m going to do, when I graduate, I’m going to be that person that helps out all the Marist kids,” he smiled. He believes that having an impact on others is the only thing that truly matters. “[I want to] have as positive influence as I can on as many as I can,” Steven said.
“I hate saying you want to make this much money, or work for this company, or meet this person...those all, to me, are meaningless. No one’s going to judge you on that stuff. I want to feel good doing the whole giving back.”