Belmont track and field athletes Vinny and Joe Maniscalco grew up competing with and against one another, and they have continued their competitiveness into college.
“What siblings don’t fight?” said Joe. “Especially doing a lot of the same sports. There has always been a ‘who is better than who’ deal there.”
The brothers from North Chelmsford, Massachusetts both got their start in track and field for different reasons. Vinny, the older of the two by a year, took up track and field as a replacement for another sport.
“I started my sophomore year of high school after I quit basketball,” said Vinny. “I did indoor track, and then I eventually did outdoor track my junior year of high school. I’ve done it every year up to this point.”
Joe was drawn to track and field after a fractured vertebra suffered during his freshman year of high school prevented him from playing contact sports.
“My doctor told me no contact sports,” said Joe. “I would have done lacrosse, but since I couldn’t do that, I ended up doing track and just stuck with it.”
The Maniscalcos excelled on their track team at Chelmsford High and separately received All-American selections in the 4×200 meter relay event. The brothers also both served as team captains during their high school careers.
Vinny was initially unsure of if he would pursue track after high school, but running with Joe on the same relay team during his senior year convinced him.
“I switched to track because I thought maybe that was the way to go,” said Vinny. “My senior year we did really well, so that was pretty motivational in my continuation.”
Their relay team finished fifth in the 4×200 meter relay at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Nationals. Both brothers cite it as one of their favorite moments in their career.
“I didn’t really think about being on a team with Vinny in college until that. That experience was just so unreal,” said Joe. “I’m really glad I get to compete with him.”
Vinny initially attended St. Lawrence University out of high school, but he transferred to Belmont during his sophomore year in 2013 to pursue musical interests. Joe would join him at Belmont the same year, wanting to live somewhere with a different climate than Massachusetts.
While the two took similar paths to Belmont, the events they specialize in on the track and field team are widely different. Associate head coach Cameron Harvey is in charge of overseeing the training of both brothers.
Joe is a sprinter which means he competes primarily in short-distance races.
“Since he is a sprinter, it’s a lot of technical block work,” said Harvey. “It’s a lot of hard days on the track, just sweating and grinding it out trying not to throw up just for maybe 10 total races in the season.”
Vinny competes as a decathlete, which means he participates in a variety of events including sprints, hurdles, pole vaults, jumps and throws.
“As a decathlete, it’s a completely different lifestyle,” said Harvey. “You can throw the javelin, then you go do hurdle practice, then you finish up some long jump practice and then there’s lifting three days a week.”
Both of them know each other very well and, while they will admit there is a sibling rivalry, there are things they’ve grown to respect about each other. Joe admires the persistence of his older brother.
“Vinny is so confident and persistent,” said Joe. “I admire how he doesn’t let anything get in his way.”
Vinny meanwhile reluctantly admits his younger brother might be the faster of the two.
“He’s definitely one of the hardest working guys I know, and he is faster than me, I will admit,” said Vinny.
Both Maniscalco brothers and the rest of the Belmont track and field team can be seen competing at the OVC Indoor Championships Friday and Saturday at the Howard C. Gentry Center on the campus of Tennessee State University.