By her freshman year, Kate Hall of Lake Region already had her approach to track figured out. Line up her goals, work with her trainer on a tough workout plan, and methodically focus on each record or victory.
But even after defending three state titles at the Class B meet this year as a sophomore, Hall never dreamed she´d win one event and finish second in another at the New England championships in Boston, where the best athletes from six states competed. And Hall’s victory in the 55-meter dash in 7.07 seconds — in addition to taking second in the long jump (18 feet, 5.75 inches) — is not only remarkable, it’s unusual.
“We get freshmen and sophomores that win in the distance events and occasionally in the jumps, but to win the dash is pretty rare. Even winning a state championship is relatively rare in New England. You see girls win the distance events. But on the sprints, you need the combination of raw speed, strength and technique,” said Steve Viatones, the United States Track and Field New England president.
Hall´s undefeated season in Maine and her performance at the New England championships make her this year´s indoor track female performer of the year.
And this year, it was a tough call.
First of all, in the Class A state meet there were two three-event winners: Grace MacLean of Bangor and Teal Jackson of Brewer.
Then there is the national-caliber Bethanie Brown of Waterville, the 2012 outdoor top performer who defended two state titles with two state records, and finished second and third in the 2-mile and 1,000 meters in Boston.
But it’s tough to beat first place in a meet that brings together athletes from six states.
Plus, Hall also went to the New Balance national meet in New York and while she didn’t place in the open division, she ran in the emerging elite division and took third, running 24.81, which would shatter both the Class A and Class B records in Maine.
“After tweaking my training (in the 55) for New Englands, I had just done short stuff, I thought I might be slower in the 200. I was really surprised I was much faster,” Hall said.
Going into the New England meet, Hall’s best in the long jump was 18-0, which she reached at a meet in December. Her improvement to 18-5.75 proved she is not just a tough competitor but also a big-meet competitor, one who can come up with a big performance at championship time.
“That was my goal to break my PR (in the 55) all year. So after states I thought, ‘OK, I wonder how New Englands will go.’ I usually run faster against competition. I definitely was not expecting to win New England and get second in the long jump. It wasn’t on my radar,” Hall said.
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: