Potential carries Perazzini to Bucknell

Fairfield Ludlowe's Elise Perazzini, middle, signs a National Letter of Intent to compete on the track team at Bucknell University. Perazzini, is joined by her dad, at right, Frank and mom, Pat.
Fairfield Ludlowe's Elise Perazzini, middle, signs a National Letter of Intent to compete on the track team at Bucknell University. Perazzini, is joined by her dad, at right, Frank and mom, Pat.Contributed Photo

The onus is on Elise Perazzini to prove herself.

Fortunately for the recently graduated Fairfield Ludlowe senior, she's good at doing that.

The three-sport captain is headed to Bucknell University to compete in arguably her third most successful sport. Perazzini-- who was an all-state field hockey and softball player-- will attempt to make the Bucknell track and field team as a sprinter.

"Bucknell was the best fit for me academically," Perazzini said.

Perazzini picked Bucknell for its reputation, and also for the opportunity to compete in track. She chose track over field hockey and softball because of her potential in the sport.

"I was using speed in the other sports," she said.

It's the potential that allows Bucknell coach Kevin Donner to call Perazzini "an unknown with tremendous upside."

But because she did not run outdoor track in high school, Donner could not offer much more than explanation.

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"It's hard to gauge how good she can be," he said. "But she's going to have the opportunity to prove herself."

Ludlowe's softball coach Tony Samuelian thinks that Perazzini will be just fine as a runner at Bucknell.

"It's that sense of athletic challenge that has motivated her to run track," he said. "It's her nature to be driven to accomplish things."

Because Bucknell is not a scholarship track and field program, she'll also have the opportunity to move into the lineup with some hard work.

She also thinks that because she is an unproven commodity, it allows her to become teachable at the college level.

"There are some kids who have had coaches," Perazzini said. "I'm not sure they're teaching the same thing. I'm more moldable."

The feeling of comfort hit Perazzini when she visited the small Patriot League school in Lewisburg, Pa. Perazzini's parents-- Pat and Frank-- can vouch for Bucknell as well, since they met there as undergraduates in the early 1980s.

"I wanted to go where I felt most comfortable," she said. "I'm looking to have a really good four years."

Perazzini chose to run at Bucknell over competing as a multi-sport athlete in field hockey and track at Connecticut College.

"I thought that would be a challenge," she said.

Perazzini also could have played softball at Western Connecticut State, but decided early in the process softball was not in the cards in college for her.

She also realized how different it has been for teammates and people around the Ludlowe community that she's competing at the Division 1 level in track and field.

"I think it surprised some people," Perazzini said.

It also is surprising for her, considering she's only run track for two years, and joined at the behest of Ludlowe's athletic director, Dave Schulz.

"I was trying to stay in shape for softball," Perazzini said. "I'm surprised that I'm going D1 in it."

Perazzini believes the opportunity to adjust to college before the start of her first track season-- the team's first indoor meet is not until Dec. 3-- allows her a chance to ingratiate herself into campus life and school.

Those opportunities to join in extracurricular activities are also important for Perazzini, as well.

"I'm involved in church and clubs," she said. "I intend to continue to do that."

In the end, competing in track in college is worth the effort for Perazzini and she's going to do the most to prepare to do her best.

"I'm so excited," she said. "I'm doing my workouts every day and improving."