While Ellsworth distance runner Dan Curts spent the late stages of the indoor track season and much of the spring shattering records, his future college roommate and fellow scholarship athlete at Iowa State University this fall has been battling a knee injury.
But that didn’t stop Josef Holt-Andrews, a senior at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, from successfully defending his 2013 championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the Class C state meet held at Foxcroft Academy.
“Obviously Dan’s killing it this year, and I was hoping to be right beside him if I didn’t have that little knee injury,” he said. “It’s better now, but it took me out of two weeks of running followed by another week and a half of just biking, so it was three-and-a-half weeks total followed by a short track season.”
Holt-Andrews, who earned All-American honors in cross-country last December with a 10th-place finish at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego, won the metric mile at states in a time of 4 minutes, 24.03 seconds — five seconds faster than runner-up Ben Decker of Yarmouth.
He followed that up with a 9:32.62 effort in the 3,200, nearly 20 seconds faster than second-place Decker and 25 seconds faster than his own 2013 winning time.
“The mile was definitely off,” said Holt-Andrews, who won his 2013 state title in the 1,600 in 4:21.18. “Last week at [the Mountain Valley Conference championships], I was coming off a knee injury that had put me out for a while and ran a [4:]25, but then I got a good week of training in this week so I was definitely hoping for more than 24. I was hoping for 20 at least.
“Then I went out for the two-mile, and I wasn’t trying to kill myself, but I was rolling and felt better than I did in the mile.”
Holt-Andrews enters each outdoor track season at a disadvantage from many of his rivals around the state, because Telstar does not have an indoor track program.
“I just get in as much running outside as I can, work on the treadmill and usually my coach brings me to a couple of meets in the Boston area to get in a little racing,” he said. “But it’s hard to get any good workouts with no indoor track [program].”
Holt-Andrews sees the addition of a formal indoor track season at Iowa State as a significant opportunity to enhance his year-round success.
“I think it will be big, because in college there will be an indoor season and I’ll be doing workouts all year, and that will make you ready for outdoor instead of trying to play catch-up,” he said.
Holt-Andrews isn’t sure of specific athletic plans for his first year at Iowa State, leaving open the possibility he might be redshirted for one or more of the sports cycles — cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track.
In the meantime, he’ll compete in Saturday’s New England championships at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, then spend the summer doing some base training before leaving Aug. 20 for Ames, Iowa, where he’ll join Curts and Bethanie Brown of Waterville as the Maine contingent in the Iowa State track and field and cross-country program.
Holt-Andrews doesn’t know yet on which running events he’ll focus.
“My coaches were thinking more the higher distances, the 5K and 10K,” Holt-Andrews said. “I’ve done quite a few 5Ks, but I’ve only run one 10K in my life — the Beach to Beacon two years ago — so it would definitely be a transition.”