CUMBERLAND, Maine — Dan Curts’ immediate goal is to get healthy.
The Ellsworth High School cross country standout ran to his second straight Class B individual state title Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Area while helping the Eagles to a second-place team finish behind two-time reigning state champion Cape Elizabeth.
But Curts’ run was just like every other race or workout he has attempted during the last month or so — marked by a twinge of uncertainty from a nagging hamstring injury.
“I felt it during the race, but unless it was like a total non-option to keep running I was going to keep running for the guys,” said Curts.
Curts’ willingness to play through some pain likely is just one more reason he’s attracting considerable recruiting interest from major Division I college cross country and track and field programs.
The Ellsworth senior already has taken NCAA official visits to Iowa State and Purdue.
“I get five official visits, so I plan on taking my other officials after cross country,” he said.
Should Curts opt to attend either Iowa State or Purdue, he would be reunited with at least one familiar running face.
Matt McClintock of Athens, a former star runner at Madison Area Memorial High School, is a sophomore at Purdue where he finished second Sunday at the Big 10 Conference cross country championship.
And former Waterville Senior High School standout Bethanie Brown is a freshman at Iowa State where on Saturday she placed fifth at the Big 12 championships as the Cyclones won their third straight conference title. Brown also was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
But in contrast to his speed on the track or cross country course, Curts plans to be deliberate in making his college choice.
“I want to take it slow and relaxed,” he said. “I don’t want to rush a decision, because I don’t think the best decisions come from rushing them.”
What Curts wants in a rush is a healthier hamstring.
“My very, very short-term goal is get healthy as quick as possible. I’ve got Foot Locker regionals on the 30th of this month and I’d like to get top 10 there,” said Curts, who missed last year’s Foot Locker Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y., because of mononucleosis.
“If I get top 10 there then I’ve got another two weeks to get healthy before nationals.”
The Foot Locker national championships are scheduled for Dec. 14 at Balboa Park in San Diego.