While there may have been no spring sports played for high school students due to the coronavirus, senior athletes were still able to stay positive by looking forward to the next level of competition in college. For catcher Gianna Monteleone from Corona, California, the next level will be in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Monteleone comes from Centennial High School and was a powerhouse for the Firecrackers with power, helping lead the team offensively with power at the plate while having an eye for what is going to happen defensively from behind the plate.

Monteleone stated the decision to be over 1,400 miles away from home was not as difficult one to make in terms of starting the next chapter of her life.

“I decided to come to Dickinson State because I wanted to start a new chapter,” Monteleone said. “Leaving California and just to start somewhere new, because meeting the team and the parents (in March) before everything shut down for (COVID-19) it just made me excited to leave. And I decided to try something new.”

Monteleone recalled the moment she knew she belonged in the Blue Hawks’ nest after meeting the team in Arizona, shortly before COVID-19.

“It was all really good conversations,” she said. “They made me feel really welcomed when I met them and we had dinner together on the first day I met them. I talked to the head coach (Kristen Fleury) and the assistant coaches. They were all really nice, they were really welcoming and made me feel comfortable and I wasn’t shy to talk to them, and then the next day the girls had a game and I got to meet a bunch of the girls and it just made me feel like I’m going to be able to stay there, it’s going to be a new family to me.”

While most recent high school graduates are excited for the upcoming independence of being away from home and starting the second half of their lives and pursuing their dreams and dream occupations. However, while Monteleone is looking forward to those things, there is one thing in particular that excites her more than anything.

“The cold,” she said. “It’s always so hot here (in California), i’m just excited to finally get out of my comfort zone, and do something new.”

When asked if there was anything she was nervous about in the upcoming transition, Monteleone stated she is confident in her decision and looking forward to making new friends, and family, at Dickinson State.

“I’m not really nervous about anything, I'm excited to leave, but being away from family is going to be a little hard,” Monteleone said. “But, I know that there’s people out there that are going to be a new family to me. If I ever get too homesick, I have them to look up to and I’ll have some things to do in Dickinson.”