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Categories: Tattoo Crosses | Author: admin 24.02.2015

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Junior Hannah Wright looks up as Medussa's Tattoo Studio artist, Cesar Enciso tattoos the letters ICXC onto her bottom lip. Taking a breath, she reminds herself of her strength, training and hard work that has brought her to the Empire 8 Championships. Tucked away inside the bottom lip of eight other runners, the ICXC tattoo is one of the newest traditions for the women’s cross-country team.
Teammates are not forced or pressured into getting the tattoo, but for those who have the ICXC letters, it is a bond connecting alumnae and current runners. She does not know what exactly changed her mind, but Satori said she could not be happier with the decision. At the close of the 2013 cross-country season, Satori and her teammates excitedly entered Medusa Tattoo Studio, just across from the State Theatre downtown.
The red-inked images across the parlor were more complex and elaborate than the four simple letters Satori will get. Wright, took her place next to Enciso, she extended her legs onto the black chair below her. Wright pulled down her bottom lip, she released the skin as Enciso spread the alcohol-infused towel over her lip, prepping the area. Enciso held Wright’s lip still and dipped the needle into the ink and brought it close to the skin, breaking the surface.

Wright said this second tattoo is more of an expression for her commitment to the team and herself as a runner. Before taking on the position as head coach in the fall of 2012, Erin Dinan worked as the assistant coach with Ware and knew the original team members that started the tattoo tradition. Though she would never pressure or force anyone to get the tattoo, she said it is a distinct tradition and a symbol of team pride.
Agreeing to the same bet as former coach Ware, if the women’s cross-country team qualifies for nationals this season, she will join Wright, Satori and Fey by adding “ICXC” inside her lip. Satori said she is lucky to share a connection with a team that chooses to compete in an environment that depends on the contribution of each member.
Seconds before the gunfire, Satori stands beside her teammates collecting her thoughts as she moves her tongue along the imprint of the letters “ICXC” inside of her bottom lip.
In 2009, Bridget Hastings ’09 pitched the idea of getting an ICXC tattoo to the team on a whim.
Today, more than 40 alumnae have the ICXC tattoo, and nine out of the 27 current women’s cross-country team members have it. She walked alongside the green marbled counter, she passed unfinished sketches and artwork plastered across canvases. Finally, she made her way to the clipboard, Satori finished the last of the paperwork before waiting for her turn in the chair.
Enciso grabbed the last items off the shelf  he needed and turned to Wright and asked, “Is this your first tattoo?” She shook her head no, thinking about the first tattoo she got on her lower back. He handed her another paper towel to collect any excess saliva, Wright again pulled down her lip, but this time kept it pulled tight.

The original shock was enough for Wright to flinch, but before there is even a moment to react, Enciso is already on the third letter, the “X.” After the second coat, the flinching stops as laughing and conversation took its place. Keeping composure, Enciso cleaned the area, opened a fresh needle and dipped it into the ink before pressing it against her skin. Also, unlike most tattoos, it fades in approximatley seven years because of the acids that are in the mouth and the rubbing action that occurs while eating. Later that season, Hastings was joined by two other teammates, Danielle Sisti ’10 and Meghan Shanley ’12.
The three newest runners stamped with the lettering are junior Hannah Wright and sophomores Satori and Anna Fey. As she filled it out, tattoo artist Cesar Enciso grabbed his gloves and prepared the station. Within three minutes, the entire process is done, and “ICXC” becomes imprinted across the inside of her lip. Hastings, Sisti and Shanley made a bet with then-head coach Bill Ware that if they made it to nationals, he had to get the tattoo as well.
In the past five years, Enciso has tattooed about 20 “ICXC” designs for the cross-country team.
Satori turned her head to the left, she beamed a smile at her teammates as they stood watching in support.

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