Niki Tsiotos, who with her twin sister, Poli, helped lead the Winthrop High girls basketball team to the North sectional title and a trip to the Boston Garden, will be running in the Boston Marathon this Monday.
Niki, 25, will be running for the Angel Fund, a charity which is committed to finding a cure for ALS.
â€œIâ€™ve been training since late December, (2021),â€ said Niki. â€œIâ€™ve been running with one of my friends, Mikayla Walsh, who is also participating in the Marathon.â€
This will be Nikiâ€™s first appearance in the 26.2-mile race which spans from Hopkinton to Boston.
â€œIâ€™ve never been in a road race,â€ said Niki. â€œIâ€™ve always done basketball and played AAU.â€
Niki has raised $12,256 to-date for The Angel Fund.
â€œThe Angel Fund has worked very closely with my uncle, George [Mazareas], who was diagnosed with ALS two decades ago and heâ€™s been living with it for that long.â€ Mazareas played college basketball at Tufts University and professionally overseas in Greece.
Niki is expecting to see her parents, Chris and Angela, and her sister, Poli, during the Marathon. â€œTheyâ€™ve been tremendously supported, and Poli is excited about my run. I really just want to see people I know at Mile 20, because they say at Mile 20, itâ€™s all mental finishing the race,â€ related Niki.
Niki graduated in 2020 from the College of Saint Rose (Albany), where she played three years of basketball. â€œI had a great time being a college athlete there and I miss pushing myself to my athletic breaking point, so the Marathon is a good challenge,â€ said Niki, who still plays basketball and will be competing in the Teddy K national tournament at Hellenic College in May.
Niki is carrying on the Tsiotos family tradition of athletic and scholastic excellence in the Marathon. Her father, Chris, an attorney, is one of Winthrop High and Suffolk Universityâ€™s greatest players and played professionally overseas. The basketball court at Winthrop High School is named in his honor.
Niki said sheâ€™s also been inspired throughout her life by her cousin, Dino Mallios, who starred in basketball as a point guard at Saint Anselm College, leading the nation in assists at one point.
â€œI used to go all of Dinoâ€™s games growing up,â€ said Niki. â€œHeâ€™s the reason I wanted to play in the Northeast-10. Between Dino, Vasili (now a Division 1 college basketball referee), Katerina (Babson College) my father, and everyone else whoâ€™s played basketball in my family, I was inspired to play.â€
Niki said her senior season (2015) at Winthrop High was a career highlight when she as a captain teamed with sister, Poli, Kristen Siscamanis, Nina Bartlette, and Maura Lanza to post a 20-4 record and defeat Bishop Fenwick, in a thriller in the North sectional final at the Tsongas Center. In addition to basketball, Niki also played soccer for head coach Tracy Martucci, another phenomenal WHS athlete.
Niki, who holds a degree in Business Marketing from Saint Rose, is the marketing manager for Toro Media.
But on Marathon Monday Niki Tsiotos will be focused on the daunting challenge of running 26 miles and 385 yards.
â€œHopefully I catch the running bug and I want to do it again,â€ said Niki. â€œI feel I have so much support, I could do this again. It feels good doing it for a good cause.â€