Graduate student Angelina Ellis broke the mile record at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 4. Photo by Abby Fostveit.
MCKENNA SKATELL | SPORTS REPORTER | email@example.com
When the gun goes off, graduate student Angelina Ellis is only focused on one thing: winning. Whether she is in the lead or coming from behind, her mindset doesn’t stray away from coming out on top.
Head coach Matt Roe feels that Ellis, who started on the track team in 2017, has only gotten stronger throughout her career at Butler. Roe says Ellis has improved with more and more experience, becoming a bigger worry for her competitors.
“She’s mentally tough; she’s physically tough,” Roe said. “And if you’re going to beat her, you’re going to have to run really, really well because she won’t beat herself.”
Ellis’ toughness and optimism have allowed her to grow over the past six years. While at Butler, Ellis has placed in various invitationals. Her best and favorite event is the 3000m steeplechase. She said it gives her a challenge, describing the event as an obstacle course.
Reminiscing back to her freshman year on the team, Ellis smiles when she thinks about how far she has come. The toughness and optimism she possesses now were not always there.
“I [didn’t] really know what to expect,” Ellis said. “I didn’t even know what a fast 3k time or what a steeple time even meant.”
In her first year, Ellis was able to learn quickly with more reps and racked up multiple top-five finishes throughout the season. She was able to continue pushing herself, creating mental and physical endurance.
That strength increased with each season she placed under her belt. Ellis went from placing on the podium at regular season meets to finishing top 20 at both the Big East Indoor and Outdoor Championship in the 3000m.
So far, Ellis’s last season is looking to be her best yet. At the Meyo Invitational, she broke the mile record in a time of 4:37.06 and the 3000m in a time of 9:04.93 at the BU David Hemery Valentine Invite. While winning was always her end goal, Ellis said she was not expecting to break these records. Roe knew what Ellis was capable of, but this came as a pleasant surprise.
“[If] you just do something well over and over and over again, at some point … the unexpected is possible,” Roe said. “You gotta get the right situation, the right race at the right time.”
Staying consistent with training as well as working on mobility in the weight room has helped Ellis continue to race at the elite level and build on her success. Being able to coach Ellis has been “a gift” for Roe.
“She’s really coachable,” Roe said. “And any athlete who’s really coachable is fun to interact with because there’s great possibility when somebody’s willing to do whatever it takes to be great.”
On her journey to become a great competitor, Ellis has had teammates to motivate and push her to become the best version of herself. Graduate student Mia Beckham, one of Ellis’ best friends, has run alongside her since their freshman year. Beckham said they are able to push each other to become better runners.
“She definitely pushes me but not in a way where it’s a competition,” Beckham said. “I feel like we don’t ever have that competitive side to us until we’re racing.”
Beckham and Ellis have both had successful careers thus far. Like Ellis, Beckham has made the podium multiple times over the course of her time at Butler. They are able to train well together, which allows them to both improve in their own ways.
“[Ellis is the] best workout partner I probably ever had,” Beckham said. “We just get along really well. Sometimes when you run with people, they just run in the wrong spots, but we seem to work it out well every single time during workouts.”
Both Roe and Beckham describe Ellis as one who leads by example. She is not super vocal, but her actions are what impact her younger teammates who look up to her.
For the remainder of the season, Ellis hopes to continue leading, improving and running to her fullest potential. Her ultimate goal would be to win All-American honors. After college, she would love to continue her running career professionally.
“I’ve definitely come out of this with some best friends that will be my best friends for the rest of my life,” Ellis said. “And it’s just amazing … I couldn’t even imagine being on a different team.”