Kyle Vannetti: SRJC runner sprints across California


Daniel Kong

SRJC runner Kyle Vannetti practices for the Conference Finals April 23. He will be competing in the 200 meter and 4×100.

Gideon Halpin, Contributing Writer

One of the fastest sprinters at Santa Rosa Junior College, invisible to most but an anchor to his team, Kyle Vannetti has the face of a kid and an unmatched collection of quirky shirts.

Vannetti is a typical freshman on the SRJC grind with 7 a.m classes   Monday through Thursday; the only difference is that every weekend he races against some of the fastest sprinters from Northern California. 

“I don’t balance things; they just kinda happen,” Vannetti said. 

In school, Vannetti is working on his general education for an undeclared major, but for athletics, he has laser focus. Vannetti, like many SRJC athletes, is required to not only excel scholastically, but to spend at least six days a week perfecting his craft.

The dedication is of course voluntary, but to an athlete like Vannetti, the drive to compete cannot be contained. Running constitutes his very making.

For some, sports are just something to do in high school.  To compete in college is a separate matter; it can be a distraction from a degree, a time killer, but for Vannetti, it’s the reason he’s at SRJC. 

“If it weren’t for running, I wouldn’t be in college,” he said .

For Vannetti, sports are an outlet in which to express his energy.  Like an artist will paint for the thrill of composing art, Vannetti sprints.

Four weeks ago at American River College, Vannetti anxiously awaited the start of his heat in the 200-meter sprint.  He said to a teammate, “Dude, I’m nervous, I don’t feel good, I’ll probably just get second.” 

The teammate responded, “Just run fast and win. That’s all you have to do.” 

Vannetti did exactly that.  He drove out of his blocks and stayed low to build up speed.  He ran in perfect form with his arms at right angles synchronized to his opposite leg’s stride; coming off the curve he had a slight lead, and pounded out the last 100 meters.  He ran a personal record of 21.94 seconds, winning the heat.

“Technically Kyle is one of the better runners we have; his form is impeccable,” said SRJC track and field head coach David Wellman. “He always finds enjoyment going out competing.”

Before his SRJC chapter, Vannetti attended Analy High School in Sebastopol, where his best moment in sports so far occurred. Sophomore year, Vannetti received the handoff for the 4 x 100-meter sprint as the team’s anchor; however, his team was about 15 meters behind.  Despite this, Vannetti made up the deficit and outsprinted Petaluma’s anchor to win the race for his team.

Although gifted, Vannetti remains humble.  When asked about his life, he was reluctant to share.  His twin sister Katie, also an SRJC student, was more helpful when it came to the good stuff, like his girlfriend in Switzerland. Last year Kyle was spending the summer in Switzerland visiting his family when he met his dream girl, Serena. 

“I picture her at the end of each race,” Vannetti said.

Vannetti would like to return to Switzerland for the summer again, but if not, his summer plans are to hang out and chill. 

As for his life motto or prerogative, he had to think about it for a few seconds, and then said, “When in doubt, run fast.”