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Wednesday November 7, 2012Mia Piccio: Ready For One Last Swing

Gainesville, Fla.

Mia Piccio: Ready for one last swing

By: Jimena Panduro UF Communications

 

For many, a sport is merely an outlet for distraction, a form of exercise, an expression. For others, it is what shapes their life and in turn, everything they are. It becomes part of them and nothing ever seems to be good enough to surpass it. 

 

When it comes to senior Mia Piccio, the latter is true. When her time at Florida comes to an end, Piccio will continue to play, nothing else is really an option.

 

“I want to keep on playing,” Piccio said. “I owe it to myself to try. That’s been my goal since I started and I just can’t see myself doing anything else.”

 

A familiar stumble

Though she began playing golf at the age of 9, Piccio began participating in athletics much earlier than that. Swimming was the discipline that she and her brother were involved in. She enjoyed it, but also knew it just wasn’t her thing. While her brother pursued it, eventually swimming in college and going to the Olympics in 2000, Piccio turned to a competition with fewer splashes perhaps, but much more precision.

 

The way she began her golfing career seems to have been mostly good fortune. She said it happened while visiting her brother one summer.  

 

“We went to visit him in Mission Viejo, California and my aunt lives right next to a golf course,” she said. “So I just picked golf up right there”.

 

Her father had always enjoyed golf, so she had been exposed to it before, but it wasn’t until that summer that she decided to make golf a part of her life. Little did she know that it was then when a brand new passion was discovered.

 

With her brother living in California and her parents in the Philippines, Piccio considers Florida her place of comfort and where her second family is.

 

“I’ve been in Florida since I was a junior in high school so this is home,” the senior said. “I do miss the people and the food in the Philippines and it’s a very different culture so the way of living in general is just very different, but Florida is home”.

 

Being away from family can be difficult, but she is able to make it all work thanks to the unwavering support from her family and her close knit teammates.

 

The last few swings

Being one of the three seniors on a team with only nine members, which includes two freshman and three transfers, can be a daunting task. For Piccio however, it is all about guidance and example.

 

“I take on a leadership role but I’m definitely more of a quiet leader,” Piccio said. “I lead by example. I like to help people, just to get everyone started and settled in. That’s just my personality”.

 

For her, the last three years have been wonderful and becoming a Gator was one of the best decisions she ever made.

 

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’m very happy I chose this school,” she said. “It’s a great, great program and a good school. And everyone is very supportive of its athletics. We all love supporting each other”.

 

Fully aware that this is her last year as part of the team, she is ready to embrace every moment and enjoy all aspects of the game.

 

Staying the course

Many changes have taken place in the women’s golf team in the last year. They have a new coach, new members and a new approach. Currently ranked #2 in the nation and heading into the offseason, Piccio and her teammates hope to slowly but surely build on this momentum, improve and be successful. “I think we have a good chance this year. It’s a good team, really good. We’re off to a great start. We’re 2-0. We’re four for four in individuals. We’re playing well,” she said.

 

Even though they have been experiencing a great deal of early success, Piccio knows that this is a long season after all and that dedication is what will carry them all the way through SECs and NCAAs.

“We’re taking it one tournament at a time,” she said. “I think it’s very important to stay the process rather than looking ahead. We just got to keep working hard at practice, working hard when we’re playing. Fighting though our rounds when we’re not playing that great because that’s how we get better. Just keep on playing. I think that’s it when playing golf: the more you play, the more you improve and get better on the course.”

 

The strength of this team is evident. They have been dominant so far and keeping this rhythm will be the key during the offseason.  

 

“I would love a ring” she says with a huge smile. 

 

With the way the team has been playing, Mia’s dream seems well within reach.

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