Justin Tracy beat Lewiston’s Mohamed Barre by .3 of a second to win the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A cross country championship on Oct. 13 with a time of 17 minutes, 14.1 seconds. As he began to prepare for the Eastern A regional, scheduled for the following Saturday, he began to feel ill.
“It started after the KVACs,” the Mt. Blue senior said. “I don’t know what happened but I just started to feel sick. I got a little better at states, but at regionals it was really bad.”
Despite not feeling 100 percent, Tracy finished seventh in the Eastern A regional and 10th at the Class A state championship.
Tracy was an anchor for Mt. Blue this season, even breaking a personal record with a time of 16:46.02 at the Festival of Champions.
For his outstanding season, Tracy has been named the Morning Sentinel Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Teammate Josh Horne, who finished fourth at the Class A championships, was also considered.
“If you look at the entire season, after (the Scot Laliberte Invitational), Justin won all of his regular season meets until (the Festival of Champions),” Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said.
Tracy said he felt his strongest during a meet Sept. 20 in Brunswick against Mt. Ararat, Brunswick and Morse. Tracy won the race in a time of 16:49.67.
“Even before the race, I just felt really mentally prepared,” Tracy said. “The entire duration of the race, I just felt really good. After the race, I just thought that was the strongest I felt all season.”
Tracy continued to run steady throughout the season. But as the Eastern A regionals came about, he was not feeling well.
“I had really dark circles under my eyes, and I was just feeling really tired that day,” Tracy said. “I didn’t have energy when you had to push really hard during the race.”
Even without the energy, Tracy was able to still mentally focus and finish the race in 17:18.68.
“There was a point at states where I just came to the conclusion that I didn’t have it that race,” Tracy said. “So I just had to settle for what I knew I could do.”
Tracy still finished the state meet with a time of 17:01.06. Horne finished fourth in 16:47.89.
“I was just replaying the race in my head over and over, and I was so disappointed in how those races turned out,” Tracy said. “I did really well at KVACs and I had really high hopes for regionals and states. To have something like that happen, it was really devastating.”
Tracy hopes to continue his running career in college. He has talked to both the University and Maine and Rhode Island about running cross country.
“I can’t imagine going to the next level of education and not have running be a part of my life,” Tracy said.
Dave Dyer — 621-5639