A soccer player growing up, senior Aidan Sullivan followed in the footsteps of his two older brothers — Gavin Sullivan (Class of 2013), Ross Sullivan (Class of 2015) — by choosing to run cross country and track at Loyola. While an injury has delayed the start to his season, Aidan, a Deerfield resident and graduate of Holy Cross School, said he’s hoping to return for the Catholic League’s meet Oct. 14, hosted by Lewis University. He holds American and Irish citizenships.
MAROON & GOLD: What turned you on to running?
AIDAN SULLIVAN: I played every sport in grade school. Soccer, football, tennis, water polo, swimming. Soccer was my favorite sport. My father [Jim Sullivan] grew up in Ireland and came here 25 years ago or so. He put all of us in soccer when we were young. But I fell out of love with it by the end of eighth grade. I was on a competitive club team that was very good, but there was too much negative energy. I lost the passion for it.
M&G: As a first-generation immigrant, what relationship do you have with Ireland?
AS: My dad is from County Meath, which is outside of Dublin. For the first part of my life we went back every summer to visit our grandparents. The last time I went was in 2012. I love it. It’s a big part of my identity. As a junior, I ran cross country with an Irish flag headband.
M&G: Gavin graduated in 2013, and Ross graduated in 2015. How influential were they in your decision to run at Loyola?
AS: They both loved it, so I thought it was something I should try. I had run a 5k every Thanksgiving, and I finished third in my age group in my first one. I figured it was something I could do.
M&G: What is it that you like about running?
AS: My favorite part is being with the guys. There is nothing better than an hour long run with your best friends. It’s really a great community of people. I’m also super competitive, and I love racing.
M&G: What has kept you on the sideline this season?
AS: Early in July, I felt pain in my right shin, and they thought it was a shin splint. It turned out to be a stress fracture. It’s been frustrating, but there is nothing you can do except rest. I’ve stayed in shape by swimming and biking every day, sometimes twice a day. I’m out of the boot now, so I should start jogging soon. I’ve been building up to this season for four years, so I can’t wait to get back.
M&G: You also run track. What have been the highlights of your running career so far?
AS: As a sophomore, I [qualified for the Class 3A state meet] on the 4×800-meter relay team. That was exciting. We weren’t supposed to get out of sectionals that year. Cross country-wise, I won the sophomore conference race, and the team was first.
M&G: You expressed how much you like running with your teammates. Do you enjoy running by yourself?
AS: Definitely. There is something nice about by out there alone with your thoughts. It’s good to get disconnected sometimes.
M&G: What else are you involved in at Loyola?
AS: Torch Club, LA Way, Dumbach Scholars. Torch is service leadership. We are the ones who help with parking at football games. Dumbach is an enrichment program that focuses on arts and humanities. LA Way is new this year. It’s a way to help freshmen transition to high school. High school can be intimidating, and this is something that builds community.
M&G: What are your college plans?
AS: I’m not good enough to choose a college purely off of running, but I can’t see myself not running. I’m looking at Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Boston College. I am relatively undecided right now.