ELLSWORTH — Aleta Looker, a standout runner at Ellsworth High School, now has an international win to her credit.
The 16-year-old junior traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, last week to compete at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational.
Running in the 800-meter run designated for ages 19 and under, Looker bested her nearest competitor by more than four seconds with her winning time of 2 minutes, 21.28 seconds.
Then, in the four-by-400-meter relay for girls ages 19 and under, Looker joined with three other U.S. runners to win with a combined time of 3:53.07, taking about three seconds off her own personal best time for the 400.
“It was so much fun,” said Looker. “Everyone was so incredible. I would not have changed it for anything.”
She said that 29 of the 32 members of the U.S. team won gold medals at the competition.
Looker said the field for the 800-meter was not as strong as those of some other events.
“The meet itself was hectic,” she said. “I almost missed my event, because they did not follow the schedule at all. But it was good to have international experience.”
Looker was invited by the National Scholastic Athletic Foundation to be one of two New England participants on a U.S. team of sophomores and juniors on an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the invitational.
To do that, she had to forego competition in this year’s New England high school championships.
But her participation in the invitational automatically qualified her to compete this coming weekend in the 800-meter championship event at the New Balance outdoor nationals in North Carolina.