Andover Boys Cross Country Captain Ellerman Mateo ’21 did not initially enjoy the sport when he first started running in middle school. However, following a successful track season, Mateo gave cross country another shot and has loved it ever since.
“I started running cross country my seventh grade year. In the fall, I ran cross country, and in the spring I did track. I didn’t have the best cross country season but the track season went really well, and the high school [in my town] in Florida told me that I should train for cross country with the high school team. So over the summer I trained with them and that led me to where I am now,” said Mateo.
According to teammate Sam Capobianco ’21, Mateo’s work ethic and enthusiasm during practice is contagious.
Capobianco said, “He’s really motivational and it really helps us get through the motion of things at practice. As a runner he’s very determined. He’s always looking to be the best and he’s just very driven and motivated overall.”
Mateo looks up to previous Boys Cross Country Captain Alex Fleury ’20 and draws inspiration from Fleury’s leadership in the past.
“Coming into Andover, my role model was Alex Fleury. It was amazing just being under his leadership for two years and to meet someone who was so humble yet so good at the sport. Even as a captain, I’ve been reaching out to him for ideas and just trying to lead like he did, because I want to continue his legacy of a captain being humble, being able to lead, and having success. Fleury was a huge role model, I specifically remember on day one he came up to me and shook my hand, and I want to continue his legacy,” said Mateo.
Recently, the on-campus members of the team have started training together again after the quarantine period, and Mateo has been careful to follow all Covid-19 related safety guidelines, according to Capobianco.
“Ellerman is a great guy, he’s really authoritative in making sure we’re staying very safe and making sure we’re staying six feet apart and wearing masks at all times,” said Capobianco.
With the team being both remote and in-person, Mateo has been working with returning teammates to welcome new runners to the team and to continue to foster team camaraderie.
“In terms of the on-campus students, I’m getting to know them at practice. I’m making an effort to know everyone’s names so I can name the entire team. From day one, I introduced myself and put myself out there and made sure everyone knew I was available. In terms of remote students, I’ve been working with [Capobianco] and he’s been organizing weekly Zooms to play games and to chat with the remote students,” said Mateo.
Mateo continued, “I’m working on Zooming with remote students one on one, hopefully at least three times before the season ends… I want to get to know them even though I’m not going to see them this fall. I’ve also been sending out weekly emails to the entire team, whether it’s about watching a live stream race or filling out some Google Docs.”