Meline Minasian was a former junior Olympian and one of three PCC cross-country runners chosen for state last year. A track and field star, swimmer, bicyclist and just an overall athlete, Minasian’s hard work ethic and can-do attitude make up someone whose talent could take her to the professional level. But with COVID-19 impacting her second season, Minasian says she may never compete again, and that’s OK with her.

Minasian and I met through zoom, and I immediately noticed her cheerful disposition. Despite everything that is going on with the world today, Minasian greets me with a gigantic smile and a pleasant tone in her voice. The kind of tone that makes you forget for a minute we are living in a pandemic. Her love of photography is displayed in her room by an entire wall full of pictures. Hanging from a plaque that reads runner are her medals and trophies she has won over the years. Her runner numbers are displayed like color bars on a military uniform, showing each battle she has gone through.

The recent spike in California coronavirus cases led us into talking about PCC athletics and the chance of returning this spring. The cross-country competitions start in February, and though Minasian wants to finish her second season, she is skeptical of it happening.

“Honestly, the way things are looking, cases are coming back up, so I don’t see that really being promised,” said Minasian.

Before, Minasian could be seen running alongside her teammates at Robinson Stadium. Long workouts consisting of tempo runs, a challenging and fast-paced run lasting longer than 20 minutes, were a daily occurrence. Now, Monday through Thursday mornings consists of 7:30 a.m. wake-up calls and zoom meetings. Minasian says the team doesn’t work out together, but they talk about any changes happening in the school. Group practices have now become solo workout sessions lonelier than a church on Friday nights.

If COVID-19 didn’t present enough challenges to Minasian’s running season, add sprinkles of smoke dust from the Pasadena Bobcat fire to be the cherry-on-top of a sundae full of challenges.

“I don’t really have a lot of access to trails here and living in a neighborhood with a lot of hills, it is very hard to run, and with the Bobcat Fire running conditions were just not possible,” said Minasian.

A sophomore now at PCC, Minasian plans to transfer in the Spring to a University of California school. In the meantime, she is maintaining her sanity by focusing on her artistic side. She talks about her new photography Instagram account with eagerness. Her love for car photography has her venturing as far as Arrowhead mountain to take pictures of her brand-new, white Jeep Wrangler. A car she is proud to say she worked hard for and paid for, with money she earned life-guarding at a kid’s day camp.

Minasian is a biology major and keeps athletics always at the back of her mind even when she is not competing. She hopes to go to medical school and possibly focus on sports medicine to help other athletes.

Looking confident, Minasian is ready to hang up her competition shoes and get used to a life without the track field beneath her feet. She spoke of her future with a light-heartedness in her voice and did not sound like a player defeated, but more like a person eager to see what lies ahead.

“I’m just going to focus on academics,” Minasian said in an upbeat tone. “I would still probably run every day because it’s just so much a part of me, and I’ve been doing it for so long. I’ll go out on a trail by myself or go along with friends, but it wouldn’t be any type of professional competition. I have gotten no emails or anything about recruiting, so I guess my running career ends there.”

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