Follow senior Aleta Looker of Ellsworth during her season xc season. Looker finished 9th in the Class B meet a year ago, & 41st in the New England Championship. She is known for her 800m prowess on the track where she's run the #2 outdoor 800m in Maine hostory, 2:14.30.
The Cross Country season is officially underway! This past weekend we hosted the Ellsworth Invitational. Everything from the spray-paint preparations and cheering spectators to the challenging hills and smiling post-race faces reminded me of one of my favorite aspects of the sport: the traditions and team legacy! I'm sure many other runners cherish the unique history associated with XC as much as I do: all the retro jerseys, faded photos, tales of big names, and record-setting feats from before our time. For Ellsworth Cross Country athletes that means years of mud runs, many special signs, team songs and chants, sacred covenants; all building up a strong team background. And of course, Ernie Tracy and Paul Firlotte - the first two inductees into the EXC Hall of Fame.
Forever earning their spots through dominating High School State & New England championships these two men represent all that the Ellsworth X-Country Team Covenant embodies as they continue to enrich their lives with running. Paul went on to be honored in the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame for his impressive performances during his collegiate career; Ernie went on to coach teams from the middle school to college level. They can be seen today volunteering as track meet officials and on the sidelines of every big race! It's solid to say that shared between them both they have most of the running experience anyone could strive to gain in an entire lifetime - combining their total mileage could stretch around the world!
When I had my first glance into their mass of wisdom through a letter my freshman year, I had no idea how lucky I was to begin hearing their spot-on advice like those before me. Paul & Ernie have cheered at almost every race I've competed in - knowing the perfect strategy to use even before hearing the exact circumstances. This kind of support and understanding of a sport doesn't happen everyday; I can't fully express how much I appreciate them always being there. As soon as he figured out that he couldn't spectate the race this past Saturday, Paul even made a specific trip to cheer on our team at early week practice. Over the years the EXC team legacy has proudly honored other legends like the Luchini & DeWitt brothers: all coached by the brilliant mastermind Andrew Beardsley. One of the more recent inductees, Brianne Dunn (love you Bri!!!) will have her plaque placed by her Aunt's - Jamie Dunn. The Ellsworth Cross Country family is truly a magical entity to be a part of.
I encourage everyone to get back to the roots - look back into your team history. Be inspired by those who've given everything for that extra push over the line wearing the uniform before you. Discover what it means to you. Use it as motivation in the moment when you need inner strength to surge this season.
Stay Golden! ~Aleta Looker