Hitting his stride: St. Francis sprinter dominates in multiple events

It’s been an experiment, and so far, a successful one.

St. Francis senior and Marine Park native Wagner Elancieux wasn’t always a track and field standout. If he’s being honest, he’s still not certain he is.

The only thing Elancieux is certain of is his willingness to try — to sign up for any event and give it everything he’s got. It’s a determination that has shaped his career with the Terriers and resulted in a series of personal bests.

“I’d say it took me a few years of seeing where I fit in,” Elancieux said. “I’m still working on the mindset and confidence thing. Even now. It’s hard to focus on running and jumping at the same time. A lot of people don’t even try and do that.”

Elancieux isn’t the protypical track and field athlete. In fact, when he started high school, track and field wasn’t even on his radar. He played basketball at St. Edmund Prep as a freshman, but didn’t make the team his sophomore year, and suddenly was an athlete without a sport. A few weeks later, he found himself on the track.

“They said they were starting a track team and I figured I’d give it a shot,” Elancieux said. “The first race was like a 200 or something and I finished and I medaled. And I was like, well, if I can get a medal every week, I’ll do this.”

He started running and has never really stopped; excelling at sprinting with St. Edmund Prep before joining the team at St. Francis.

At first, Elancieux was certain he’d simply settle into a sprinting rhythm with the Terriers, but it’s taken years for him to hit his stride.

“I just wasn’t fast enough and I needed more strength than speed,” he said. “So when I started here, I started doing distance. “Just to build up my strength, they put me in those races.”

Elancieux ran every distance, competed in every race he could, and eventually, his coach suggested he start jumping as well — just to see if he could. He could.

He began competing in the long jump and triple jump last season and, late last month, notched a personal-best in the triple jump and 400-meter dash at the Monmouth Invite meet.

It isn’t often that one athlete competes in both a jumping event and a sprint, but Elancieux doesn’t consider himself a typical athlete. He simply wants to be the best and he’s willing to take on any event to prove he is.

“I just want to score points,” he said. “I feel like all of this was just for me to do well in the last season. I see everything now and I kind of understand the road.”

His journey to track and field excellence hasn’t been easy, but Elancieux has embraced every new challenge, and now, he’s set his sights set on competing internationally for Haiti — his homeland — in the future.

“It’s going to be hard, but I want to run,” he said. “I’m never going to stop running.”

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