St. Francis College senior Wagner Elancieux has had to battle for everything in his track and field career. It’s something that has driven him to succeed at every turn.
Elancieux enjoyed a solid track and field career at St. Edmund Prep High School in Midwood, but scholarship offers weren’t coming through like he had hoped. Perhaps it had something to do with the departure of the team’s coach in his senior year and its poor overall performance.
“Senior year was not what it was supposed to be,” Elancieux said. “We would win a few races here and there, but it kind of fell apart.”
However, the Mill Basin senior received a phone call in August 2013 from the head track and field coach at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY. He visited the campus but said the coach couldn’t allocate any money for an athletic scholarship for him because there was no money left.
Not ready to give up the sport he grew to love, and having already been accepted as a student at St. Francis, Elancieux, 21, decided to walk on to the team. He made the squad and quickly participated in cross-country meets, performing well, though he was a sprinter by trade.
In addition to his coach preparing him to run middle distances that season, Elancieux ran an impressive 400-meter race in the blistering cold and wind atMonmouth University, winning his heat. It installed enough confidence in his coach to allow him to continue to participate in sprinting events.
Though Elancieux improved as an overall runner, an athletic scholarship eluded him in his freshman year.
“I was pretty disappointed after not getting the scholarship my sophomore year,” he explained. “I was trying to take a little bit of the load off my parents and was upset I couldn’t do it. It only motivated me to work harder, and that’s what I did and continue to do.”
His tireless efforts paid dividends. Elancieux posted his fastest time ever (52.01) in the 400-meter event at the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship in May of his junior year, capping a productive season for the 5’ 8” Brooklynite. His fine performance finally yielded what he had been chasing.
“I just got it after my junior year,” Elancieux said of his new athletic scholarship. “That was amazing, that was the best,” adding that between his academic and athletic scholarships, along with grants, he’s not paying any tuition in his senior year.
Elancieux, who works as a student assistant at the Office of Student Success at the college, knows he must go all out to snap all his personal bests – that there isn’t another year of college after this.
“I am now realizing this is my last year, and I don’t have a choice,” said Elancieux, who has already achieved a personal best in the 300-meter indoor race. “I have to run well. All my times, I have to surpass that. I’m not going to have any regrets.”
After college, however, Elancieux, who is of Haitian descent and plans on entering law enforcement, has an aspiration he’d love to fulfill.
“I want to run for Haiti in a national competition,” the criminal justice major said. “That would have to be the highlight of my whole career. It would really be an honor to represent the country my parents were born in. The country itself has been through a lot, but wearing those five letters (Haiti) on my chest, hopefully, can bring some positivity to my people, and my running career would have actually meant something.”