Brewster Soph a Natural Runner0
By Chuck Slater
As a youngster, Elsa Neubauer was always athletic. Soccer. Dance. Lacrosse. Then, as a Brewster high-school freshman last year, she discovered cross-country. It’s been running ever since.
How good a runner is 15-year-old Elsa Neubauer? Scary good. So good she runs against the boys in practice. “We have a good girls cross-country team,” says the Brewster coach, Joe Scelia. “But for Elsa, it’s running with the boys.”
Scelia didn’t know anything about this slender 5-foot, 5¼-inch freshman a year ago. He certainly does now. Elsa opened the cross-country season by winning the girls Division 1 Race at Somers High’s Big Red Invitational in 19:18.26. It was merely the fastest time recorded by a girl in the 34-school, 1,600-athlete meet. After winning a second invitational she traveled to Rhode Island and won the Ocean State Invitational.
But the week before, she lost, coming in third in the Bob Pratt Invitational on Long Island. The two girls who beat her are ranked 1 and 2 in the state. With her season in full swing, she could lose again in a major meet but the goal is to do well enough at the state qualifier to make it to the state meet upstate on November 11th. Count on it.
“She’s one of the top 10 in the state,” Scelia said. “To my knowledge she’s the most impressively improved athlete in the state. She keeps getting better every day. She is turning into a complete runner.” And a very dedicated one. “She is mentally tough,” the coach said, “and willing to push herself beyond normal limits.”
All pretty incredible for a youngster who had never run competitively until the 9th grade and who started her season on the freshman JV while her one-year-younger brother Ryan also took up the sport.
“I had never run but I always liked running,” Elsa said. “When in soccer we would have to do extra laps for punishment, I loved it. I just run now and I love it. I love the feeling of it, and the trying to get better. And I really enjoy the competition.”
But what about running against and perhaps beating the boys? Do they mind? “No, not really,” said Elsa Neubauer. “They all know it’s to help all of us.” Scott Jacobson, a top Brewster runner agrees. “There’s nothing more to say,” he said. “She’s just as tough as nails.”