Junior runner Nicole Morpurgo discusses life in Italy, transfer to UCCS

September 12, 2017

Bryanna Winner

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     In April, the women’s track and field team team added 17 runners to their roster. One of these athletes was transfer student Nicole Morpurgo.

     Morpurgo, a junior film major, transferred from St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Originally from Haiti, Morpurgo lived in Milan, Italy all her life and is also half German with family in Hamburg.

    Nicole transferred to UCCS because she wanted to have her last two years with a good track team.

    “UCCS was recommended to me by a friend who works at St. Cloud, and I came to check it out. I didn’t really have a lot of options because they told us right before spring break 2016 that they would cut the program,” said Morpurgo.

    During the indoor track season her freshman year at St. Cloud State, she earned a second-place finish in the 60m dash at the Minnesota Open with a time of 7.92 seconds and a sixth-place finish in the 200m with a time of 26.34 seconds.    

    During the outdoor track season that same year, she earned a first-place finish in the 100m at the Winona State Warrior Challenge with an NCAA provisional time of 12.27 seconds and a second-place finish in the 4×100 with an NCAA provisional time of 48.24 seconds as the anchor.

    After graduating, Nicole plans on returning to Europe, although she doesn’t know what the future holds. According to Morpurgo, she would like to start on a production set and then move into teaching. Nicole interned on a German television set this past summer and worked with props. Along with film, Nicole also likes to teach.

    Aside from running, Morpurgo also participated in acrobatics and gymnastics while in secondary school in Italy.

    When it came to running, Morpurgo said her school would organize competitions against other schools in Milan, but she always missed meets because of travel or sickness. At the age of 14, Morpurgo’s coach Renzo Fugazza, asked her to come run for him.

   “I told him I wasn’t interested and that I was a gymnast. So, he contacted my school professor who contacted my mom who had to bribe me to go to a training lesson,” she said.

    “I got to go to the Italian Championships one year later and continued to get the times to participate in them until last year. I also won some podiums with the relay.”

    Nicole promoed for NCAA Internationals in her freshman year at UCCS. Unfortunately, she was injured last year, so she didn’t get a chance to run at any competition.    

    Morpurgo said that her first two years of schooling in the U.S. were not difficult, in comparison to Italy, where Morpurgo said that students must “fend for themselves.”

    “[In Italy], all you have to do is be there for exams whenever you want. If you fail three exams, you are out of your major anywhere in Germany and you can’t sign up anymore. You are much more on your own but here; you are followed as a student,” she said.

    Being from a strong household, it wasn’t difficult for her to leave home to go to school in America, according to Morpurgo.

    “I needed it, not because I needed to run away from home but I just needed more space to grow up more. I think I did a little bit; I think I have to do a lot more but I did,” she said.