Alex Agius’ level of dedication and determination when racing is what makes him the ideal runner any track or cross country coach would want on their team. The Grosse Pointe North High School junior became a star in both sports during his early years with the teams. From qualifying for state championships to setting and achieving his own personal goals, Agius is as driven as any racer in the world to reach his peak.
“I always strive to be the best and work the hardest to get better,” he said.
Now fully dedicated to cross-country in the fall and track in the spring, it wasn’t always like this for Agius. He explored different sports growing up and even had his introduction to the running track in college.
Agius entered high school in North more focused on becoming a swimmer. However, it seemed like fate was pushing Agius to keep running.
“I did track in seventh and eighth grade just for fun, but I didn’t think I would do it in high school,” he said. “In first year, the season arrived, but I focused on swimming. I had a wrist injury that I had to do a cast for, so I couldn’t swim. Right after my doctor’s appointment I had a medical and called the captain to see if I could still participate and the coach pulled a few strings so I could keep racing. I think five days later we had a race. … I didn’t know I would have less than 20 (minutes) and I was the best runner in JV that day.
Agius hasn’t looked back since. Starting out in cross country and also joining the track, he became one of the Norsemen’s most prolific runners. During his high school career so far, Agius has also learned that just being fast isn’t the only thing that makes a great runner.
One of its best qualities is its versatility. Running has become his specialty, but Agius can do it all. His cross-country skills translate well to the track in the spring, where Agius has shown his trainers that he is capable of racing just about any event.
“The mile is my main event, but if the coach needs me in the 400 or the 800, I’m always there,” he said. “I can step in if they need me and I can do anything from a 400 to two miles.”
Able to race in any type of event, his team needs him to showcase Agius’ abilities as a leader. Now in the upper class, his ability to lead was never in question in the eyes of his teammates or coaches. The same internal drive and determination that Agius uses to improve himself spreads to all the runners around him.
“(Alex) is a born leader and a driven runner,” said Joe Ciaravino, who coaches distance runners for the North track team. “He sets high expectations for himself and is relentless in pursuing his goals. He is a wonderful role model for the young riders in the program.
The effort Agius brings to every race and event is nothing new. It’s been part of him since he started running and was obvious to some early on.
“I saw Alex run the mile at a college track meet when he was in seventh grade,” North boys’ cross country coach Diane Montgomery said. “He didn’t win the race – he came second – but there was something about the way he attacked the race that made me want to bring him into North’s cross-country family. … He’s a very dedicated athlete who is internally driven.
While focused on helping the Norsemen get as many wins as possible in the current track season, some of Agius’ greatest accomplishments have come in cross country. Last fall was particularly memorable.
The 2021 cross country season stands out for Agius in terms of what he was able to accomplish. He represented North at the state championships, the only racer from North to head to the United States in the fall after a strong showing at regionals. Reaching the United States was a great accomplishment in his career; however, being as driven as he is, achieving his personal goals was the main focus and highlight of the year.
“I was hoping to qualify and that was my main goal,” said Agius. “Each race I seemed to go a little faster, but there was a point where I wasn’t going any faster and I had a seizure I guess. We weren’t given very nice lessons, which affected the weather. … There was a race at Chandler Park, which is one of my favorite courses. I came out strong and broke 17 and was in shock and so happy to get there.
Agius will have his senior cross country season this fall after finishing the spring with the Norsemen track team. His first seasons racing at North were successful, but Agius has the drive to do more. As a leader and concerned with making himself and his teammates the best runners possible, it’s no surprise that Agius is convinced that the best is yet to come.
“I can’t wait to see how my teammates are doing and hopefully we can qualify for the States, which I believe we can,” he said. “I also really hope to qualify for the States of the mile this spring. I believe I can smash 16 minutes next cross-country season. I want to improve my racing tactics and be able to handle anything and everything the course throws at me.
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