The Owls open the indoor season at the Art and Linda Maillet UNC Open on Saturday, Jan. 17 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
She Holds the FAU Record in 400 Meter Hurdles
After serving as assistant coach for FAU women's track and field for three seasons, John Guarino enters his fifth season now as associate head coach. Guarino will concentrate his coaching efforts into the sprint, hurdles, and jumping events for the Owls.
In the 2014-15 season, Guarino saw his first indoor and outdoor Conference USA Champions. A freshman at the time, Frida Thorsås won the pentathlon at the C-USA Indoor Championship and claimed victory in the heptathlon at the C-USA Outdoor Championship. Sitia Martinez also won the 400 meter hurdles at the outdoor championship. For the fifth year in a row, the Owls were represented in the 400 hurdles at the NCAA East Preliminary Championship as Martinez qualified for competition. The 4x100 meter relay team also qualified. In his four years at FAU, Guarino also led Danielle Aromashodu to back to back Sun Belt Conference titles in the 400m hurdles, as well as Annakay Dennis (400m), Ronja Siekmann (Hept) and Valerie Dixon (800m) to second-place finishes at the Sun Belt Championships. In 2013, his athletes broke four school records in the short sprints. In his first four years, he has coached nine different athletes to top-three finishes at conference, as well as two 4x400m relays.
Prior to FAU, Guarino was at Eastern Michigan University where he had a big impact on the program. While with the Eagles, Guarino coached seven individual MAC champions and four relay MAC champions in just four years. The women's team won the 2011 Indoor MAC title and finished runner-up outdoors missing the championship by one point. In 2011, Guarino's athletes dominated the conference championships by winning the 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 400mH and the indoor and outdoor 4x400m relay. In his four years at Eastern Michigan, Guarino had 24 of his athletes earn top-five finishes at the MAC Championships. He has also led seven women and two relays to the first round of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Prior to Eastern Michigan, Guarino coached at the University of Central Florida, where he coached four athletes to the NCAA Regional meet in five different events. He also coached six different athletes to All-Conference USA honors, including the 4x400-meter relay team in 2006. In addition, he also coached Ann Larsen, a three-time U.S. National qualifier in the high jump.
Before his stint at UCF, Guarino spent one year as a graduate assistant coach at Florida State University. While there, he helped develop the female sprinters and the men's 800-meter athletes en route to an ACC Championship.
Before going to FSU, Guarino served as head coach at his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale and led them to six consecutive state titles from 1998-2003. In 2000, the team was ranked second in the country and for his efforts Guarino received the Florida Girl's Track Coach of the Year award four times. While at St. Thomas Aquinas, he coached Sanya Richards, the junior American record holder at 400 meters and 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 400m. Under Guarino, Richards had a personal high school best 400 meter time of 50.69 and won the silver medal at the 2002 World Junior Championships.
At St. Thomas, Guarino coached four high school All-Americans, a national championship relay team (4x200-meters) and state champions in 11 different events. He also coached the boys and girls cross country teams and the Ultimate Flyers Track Club each of his years. Guarino graduated with a Bachelor's of Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1993 and then went on to receive a Master of Sports Administration in 2004 from Florida State. While at Georgia Tech, he competed for two years as a 400 and 800-meter runner. He was a four-year letter winner in track and field and cross country at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
Guarino holds a USATF Level II certification in sprints, hurdles, and jumps. He is also certified in the sprints and hurdles by the new USTFCCCA Track and Field Academy.
Guarino resides in West Boca with his wife Natasha and their son.