Estera Levinte notes that she laced up her running shoes and joined the track team three years ago to stay in shape for soccer season.
Turns out, the Bothell High athlete could turn on the jets at the blast of the starting gun.
During her senior season, she notched the top times in the 400 at the 4A KingCo and the Sea-King District championship meets. She nailed a personal record mark of 58.32 at KingCo and reeled off a 58.62 time at district to pave her way to the state meet, where she finished 12th.
She also thrived in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, both of which qualified for state. Seeded eighth heading into the final, the 4×400 — consisting of Hannah Cecil, Kerstin Ly, Liza Yusem and Levinte as anchor — stepped up its game and sped to a sixth-place finish in 4:04.75 in the final event of the meet (the Cougars finished second at KingCo in 4:04.18).
Then there was the 4×200 relay — featuring Jayda Dixon, Alexia Tawrel, Levinte and Jaiden Childs — that took 16th at state and hit its top time of 1:46.58 (twice) during second- and third-place finishes, respectively, at KingCo and districts.
While Levinte enjoys running on the soccer pitch, she finds it stressful to line up in the 400 and attack the lanes on the track. However, the Cougar is glad she tackled that race, had some fun along the way and was overjoyed to make it to state.
“Getting fast and seeing my times get lower and lower every time,” was a plus, Levinte said. “There was a point where I PR’d four times in a row. It just felt really good. I was looking at the times from state, and I was like, ‘I’m pretty close.’”
She also ran the 200 and nabbed a PR of 26.79 this season, and especially went full-speed ahead in the 4×400 to let loose her competitiveness.
Speaking of going toe-to-toe with her opponents, Levinte will take her soccer skills to the next level with a full-ride scholarship to Western Washington University in the fall.
“I’m very competitive. If someone even tries me, I just will not let them past me, just ‘cause I hate losing,” said Levinte, a defender who loves slide tackling.
To prepare for college ball, Levinte is playing for the Issaquah Soccer Club Gunners FC in the Women’s Premier Soccer League this summer along with following WWU’s workout that includes conditioning and weightlifting.
Levinte’s rise up the soccer ladder came quickly in eighth grade, when she kicked her way from a recreational squad to select to premier teams.
“I liked it a lot and I worked hard to get where I am now,” she said. “Since I started playing, watching (Lionel) Messi play, just how he moves the ball and the creativity part of it. I just love that part and it just looks really cool. I always want to learn how to do those things. I like the team part, too, coming together to score a goal.”
The Reporter asked Levinte a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Messi. He’s a big part of why I’m playing and I think how far I got.
What super power would you like to have?
I’d wanna fly. Seems like something that would be pretty cool, plus you don’t have to drive anywhere, you just fly wherever you want. All the time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
From my mom, just to not worry about anyone else but myself. When it comes to something I love doing, especially with soccer, a lot of my family were very supportive of it in the beginning (when people would say) ‘Oh, soccer’s for guys, it’s physical, you’re gonna get hurt.’ My mom would always tell me not to pay attention to that and just to work hard for what I want and eventually I’ll achieve it.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?