WESTMINSTER — It only seems fitting that Steph Ager will now be running with a “W” on the front of her jersey.
The Bellows Falls senior, who won six races for the Terriers in the fall, has decided to attend Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and run on the school’s cross-country team.
“I will bring my love of running to the XC team — with that comes determination and commitment. I am beyond excited to join this group of girls with the same goals and love for racing as me. I have always dreamed of being on a competitive and close connected college team,” Ager explained.
Wesleyan will return Miranda Graves, who started her junior season with a victory in the Trinity Invitational and later placed 11th in the conference championship race.
“The interest coach (Leo) Mayo showed towards me was a huge deciding factor because I knew he was committed to advancing me to the next level of running. I was excited to hear that I was one of the top running recruits,” said Ager, adding that she also chose the school because she thinks it will challenge her academically.
BF’s speed demon is the 2021 Southern Vermont League and Connecticut Valley Conference champion. She also helped the Terriers to a silver medal at the Division 3 state meet.
Her time of 20:13 at the Northeast Regionals puts her right on the back of Graves, who ran a 20:12.5 to strike gold at Trinity.
“She is mentally gifted. Steph has a wonderful love and appreciation for running. That is essential,” noted Bellows Falls cross-country coach Josh Ferenc. “Steph absolutely loves what she does, all its parts — from training in heat, freezing temperatures, hill workouts, track sessions and long runs — and her love of running makes her great at all things running related. Steph has the work ethic needed, an elite mindset, and is always looking/willing to build high performance habits.”
Ager is currently running indoor track, recently winning both the 1500 and 3000 races during a meet at the University of Vermont.
“I never imagined receiving this amount of support from such a small community and I am so thankful for all of it. Running for BF has been one of my greatest achievements thus far,” she said.
Being a part of four state championship teams is among her best running memories. BF girls track won it all in 2019, with Ager earning the bronze in the 3000. She also helped her school’s cross-country team three-peat from 2018-2020.
Legendary Bellows Falls coach Tim Eno recalls when Ager turned heads as a freshman at the CVC meet.
“Steph raced and ran great; and this was the race that established her as the next great runner in Bellows Falls tradition,” he said.