Cross Country Alum Chris Catanach Uses UT Education to Continue Studies

Former cross country runner and alum Chris Catanach made the most out of his time at the University of Tampa. A runner who competed in each of his four years as a Spartan, the 24-year-old Miami, Fla., native double-majored in communication and film and media arts.

Many student-athletes at UT have prided themselves over their accomplishments away from their respective sport, but Catanach, who is the nephew of Spartan head volleyball coach Chris Catanach, received a prestigious honor for his dedication to schoolwork while at Tampa. He was twice named by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association an Academic All-American—as a sophomore for the ’07-’08 season and as a senior for the ’09-’10 season.

For Catanach, school was always first priority. That was a mindset reinforced by UT Athletic Director Larry Marfise upon Catanach’s arrival to Tampa.

“That’s the first thing that Larry Marfise told us right when we walked in there—that, ‘you guys are students first, then athletes. Student-athletes, not the other way around’. With cross country, not that other sports don’t, but it takes so much discipline to be a good runner, so much discipline and consistency,” Catanach said. “So it’s similar to school—you’ve gotta be disciplined and get your work done, and make sure that’s a priority. Everybody’s got goals, and that was one of mine.”

Catanach came to UT with several advanced placement (AP) credits under his belt from Columbus High School. Earning AP credits in high school can often times enable a student to graduate college early, but Catanach said he didn’t want to do that. Instead, he added film as a second major.

“Film is sort of under the same umbrella (as communication), so I just had to take a couple extra classes,” he said. “I was like ‘whatever, I’ll add film’ and ended up really falling in love with it.”

And he had nothing but positive to say about his experiences as not just a Spartan, but as a student at the UT in general.

“I’ve gotta say what they taught me was an unbelievable platform to go out there. I thought I was going to be overwhelmed, but it was really great what all the professors taught.”

After graduating from UT in 2010, Catanach attended the University of Southern California to continue his study of film as a graduate student.

But after landing a job with Stitch, a post-production company specializing in commercials, music videos and movies, Catanach realized he didn’t need a graduate degree to obtain his career goals. He pulled out of USC in January 2011.

“I didn’t really get it, I didn’t think it was realistic,” Catanach said of his entertainment management degree that he dropped at USC, adding that it was a difficult field of study to even explain to people. Since working at Stitch, he’s served as an editor on a number of projects, his own specialty being music videos.

But his most notable project is the feature-length film Re:Generation, which received a limited theatrical release in February 2012. A documentary distributed by D&E Entertainment, Re:Generation follows five popular contemporary electronic DJs (Skillrex, The Crystal Method, DJ Premier, Pretty Lights and Mark Ronson) in their collaboration with classic genres of music.
The film shows behind the scenes footage of five separate tracks being produced. Catanach served as one of three senior editors for the film, and detailed some of the things his job entailed.

“I think a lot of people think an editor is somebody who sits in a dark room and just kind of stares at a screen. But really it’s all about collaboration. It’s a whole process,” he said.

“It’s a lot of different people and it sort of ends up in your lap. You kind of piece the story together, whatever it is—whether it’s a commercial or a long-form piece like a documentary. You kind of have to have that right mind to piece things together quickly and have a good feel for timing.”

Since being in theaters, Re:Generation has made its rounds to film festivals, and Catanach said the plan from here is getting it released on Blu-Ray/DVD. Catanach discussed how gratifying an experience it was to have been a part of creating a feature-length film.

“I think the real fans, the people who really appreciate music and appreciate these DJs, I think they saw something really cool happen in this film. It’s pretty cool the power that this job has. You can tell a story basically on a mass scale.”

Catanach said his focus will remain on his career at Stitch, but he realizes he may never lose touch with his athletic background.

“That was sort of my life and it’s kind of replaced by work now and collaborating with people. I guess you could say there are some similarities there. I still try to be an athlete. I think once you’re an athlete, it’s hard to get away from that.”

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