Car Accident Claims Life of Union Pines Runner Gio Rincon

Giovanni Rincon, an 18-year-old senior at Union Pines High School in Cameron, North Carolina, died on Friday following a car accident in Moore County. According to a police report obtained by The Pilot of Southern PinesRincon attempted a U-Turn with his Chevrolet Silverado on Union Church Road at 3:14 p.m. on Friday when a Ford F-350, which was pulling a trailer, came from the other direction and collided with Rincon. According to the police report, the driver of the F-350 was charged on the scene with driving with a revoked license. Speed was not reported as a factor in the collision, The Pilot reported. 

Just last week at the SAC Conference Championships, Rincon had won the 800m in a personal record time of 1:57.67. He was the No. 2 ranked 800m runner in his regional, making him very likely to have qualified for the state championship and contend for a podium finish.

He owned another personal best of 4:30.78 in the 1,600m. He was a two-time all-state runner in the indoor 1,000m. There is a GoFundMe set up for Rincon's family, and it has thus far raised $23,000, a total of $13,00 over the initial goal of $10,000.

We were first introduced to Giovanni Rincon in 2018. He was a star that emerged at the first NCRunners Middle School Elite InvitationalHe had been entered in the 800m and 1,600m with no seed time and was representing Crain's Creek Middle School. 

It isn't uncommon to see athletes go out way too hard and not be able to hold the pace as they are first introduced to distance running. It's how most runners learn. Rincon went out in 67 seconds for his first 400m in a race where the fastest seed in that heat was in the 5:30s.

Rincon came through the 800m in 2:18 and looked very strong. By then, you could tell he was going to be the real deal some day.  He would go on to win his heat in the 1,600m by nearly 45 seconds, in a personal-best mark of 4:45.15.  

Afterward, we talked with Gio, as we were very surprised to see that mark from a slower section. We told him we'd do what we could to get him into the fast heat. He told us that he was in the 800m and was so excited and appreciative. Not that we needed any reassurance in Gio's ability, but he told us he would not let us down and that he was going to win it.  

Gio did just that. 

He went out in just over 60 seconds for the first 800m and closed to win by 10 seconds in 2:05.

In an interview with us afterward, he said he really wanted to break two minutes over his summer track season, which typically is a pretty rare feat at the middle school level. He would finish the year hitting 2:00.97 and would go on to break two minutes four times during his freshman track season at Union Pines.

Since that day, we were always a fan of Giovanni Rincon. 

While we became aware of him for his talent on the track, he stuck out for being such a humble, appreciative and kind person even at 14 years old.

MileSplit wants to send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the Rincon family and to his Union Pines family. For anyone wishing to support Rincon and his family on the loss, please visit the GoFundMe