Pioneer Athlete Spotlight on Hanna Catalano

Pioneer Athlete Spotlight on Hanna Catalano
Hanna Catalano

Team: Northgate High School
Grade: Senior
Sports: Cross Country, Triathlon, CrossFit, Swimming

WALNUT CREEK, CA — Hanna Catalano focused on swimming and then running as a youngster, which led her on a path of competing in CrossFit and triathlons, an endurance sport which combines swimming, running and cycling. She decided against joining cross country during her senior year at Northgate when the pandemic moved the sport to a unique winter season which conflicted with her CrossFit training.

Her Broncos girls cross country coach Ruth Seabrook understands the decision and said, “We thoroughly enjoyed having Hanna for three years on the cross country team at Northgate, she was always a steady competitor who did best under the most pressure. I am sure she will go on to run, bike, swim and CrossFit in college and beyond into her adult life.” Catalano competed at two North Coast Section championships for Northgate during her three years on varsity. As a freshman she also ran track at the Walnut Creek school.

Swimming at 5

She swam for the Dana Hills Otters from the time she was five. A dual citizen of the US and Finland, Catalano swam on year-round club teams from the age of eight to 11-1/2 when her family lived abroad, twice qualifying and competing in the annual Finnish Youth National Swim Championships. Upon returning to America, she rejoined her DHST summer team for four seasons.

Those pursuits evolved into her interest in triathlon. Since age 12 she has completed in over 30 sprint distance triathlon races. A typical sprint distance race is 750-meter swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run. Her freshman year at Northgate she participated in the Youth Elite National Championship triathlon in Ohio.

Catalano’s triathlon team is not currently active, but she trains six days a week with The Cave in Marin, both in her home area and 2-3 times driving to Larkspur to work directly with CrossFit coach Bo Winegarner. “Hanna possesses both a strong work ethic and a mindfulness that I rarely see in an athlete.  I believe she can excel at anything she puts her mind to,” Winegarner says. She gave up her final high school cross country season to prepare for the 2021 CrossFit Games open and 16-17 teen divisions. The three-week qualifications began last week.

Music and Science

The senior from Clayton has played tenor saxophone in the Northgate Jazz Band for four years and also plays flute and oboe. She is looking forward to majoring in biochemistry in college.

The Pioneer congratulates Hanna and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry.

Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to