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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Elaine Estes juggles teaching and racing during her final year at St. Joe’ s

Estes improved from coming in fifth place at the 2017 Geroge Mason Invitational to second in 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM CONNELLY

When graduate student Elaine Estes ’19 lined up before her race at the 2019 Monmouth Kick-Off Invitational, her goal was to start fast and get in front. Two weeks later she still hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Estes went on to win the individual title at the Monmouth Kick-Off on Sept. 7 and was recognized as the Atlantic 10 Performance of the Week. Estes followed that on Sept. 13 at the George Mason Invitational by finishing second by only 3.6 seconds. For Estes, it makes sense that the success is pouring in now.

“I’ve definitely had a ‘from behind trajectory’ my whole career,” Estes said. “I had never won a collegiate race before in track or cross country. It is cool to start off my senior year that way and get some recognition.”

According to women’s cross country Head Coach Melody O’Reilly, this is just an example of the type of runner Estes is.

“She is patient and has persevered through the training and the transition of becoming a better runner,” O’Reilly said. “It is very obvious, literally from the gun, that she has gone to the next level. It is her time now. She sets the right example for the freshmen and sophomores.”

Being a role model for those younger than her is nothing new for Estes. On weekdays she spends her time student teaching at Antonia Pantoja Community Charter School, a bilingual school in northern Philadelphia.

“The student teaching experience in itself has been awesome,” Estes said. “I love the school that I am in. It is an interesting experience teaching Spanish to Hispanic people. I think language is a really important part of our society and can open people’s eyes to a lot.”

By day, Estes assists three sections of 18 seventh graders in day-to-day activities, observing their lessons and getting them from classroom to classroom. After a full school day, Estes then must find time to train alone, a situation that her teammate senior Morgan Camerlo says has its own challenges.

“You have to be a responsible, mature person,” Camerlo said. “I know personally that running workouts by yourself is much harder. Elaine is someone who can just get them done, though, and run those workouts strong.”

What first drew Estes to cross country in high school was the desire to get out of the house more. Estes said once she started in high school it was the team atmosphere that drew her in. Training with the team was her time to catch up with friends and socialize.

“It is an adjustment,” Estes said. “I had to shift my training to the afternoons and am doing everything by myself. I’m living in Center City now so I am just finding new places to run and the terrain that is best for different types of workouts.”

Camerlo has kept in touch with Estes. The two were training partners last year, and Camerlo said she misses having her guidance at practice.

“Elaine is great because you just get the feeling she wants whatever is best for you,” Camerlo said. “Running is hard because it is not like a basketball team where you all win. In general running is a sport where you can try to compete against your teammates. However, she always just wants you to be the best runner you can be.”

As the semester continues, Estes’ mind will be set on two goals: to continue to garner better times at each race and to secure a teaching job in December. Estes said she plans on just sticking to the lessons she has learned over her seven years of cross country.

“Going to the long road and trudging through stuff until you get it done is the attitude you need to have,” Estes said. “In something like teaching, besides being in the classroom, there are loads of other stuff you have to deal with and making sure you’re getting everything done and doing your best will ensure the results you want.”

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