In the history of Maine high school track and field, there aren’t many athletes who have won three events at the state meet as freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
And there are far fewer that have stood on the podium at the national high school championship meet.
But Lake Region junior Kate Hall continues to raise the bar on her own standard and has become the rare Maine athlete who can contest for a national title. Last weekend Hall finished second at the New Balance national championships in the long jump, improving her best mark by a half-inch with her jump of 19 feet, 111/2 inches.
For all of these reasons, Hall is the Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ indoor track and field performer of the year for the second consecutive year.
And as Hall focuses on her goal of making the 2016 Olympic trials, which will be held when she’s just a freshman in college, she is methodically checking off personal goal after personal goal to become one of the nation’s best high school athletes.
“It was so much fun,” Hall said of the national meet in New York City. “I was actually injured a couple of weeks ago, so I was kind of nervous at how things would go.”
After the Class B state meet and just before the New England championships, Hall strained her hip flexor. She tried to rehabilitate the injury but ended up sitting out the New Englands.
She stepped into the regional spotlight at that meet last year, winning the 55-meter dash and taking second in the long jump.
But Hall said she and her physical therapist, who is also her personal trainer, decided that trying to compete at the New Englands would risk injury, while sitting out would leave her more rested and healthy for the nationals.
It also added more pressure to the meet that highlights the nation’s best track and field athletes. But Hall deals with it well.
“I knew I would love the atmosphere there. I always do. I was just hoping to set a (personal record). That was my goal,” Hall said.
“Nobody really talks, it’s so serious. And anyone could win. It was won in 20-5.25, which is absolutely crazy.”
After making the semifinals in the 60-yard dash, finishing ninth in 7.62 seconds, Hall focused on the long jump, her best event.
In the final, Hall put herself in second place with a jump of 19-5. Then a jumper from Minnesota bettered that with a mark of 19-8.25. But the competitor in Hall rose to the occasion as she always does, and on her last jump she soared to 19-11.5, a personal best.
Not since she jumped 19-11 at the Rhode Island Classic on Dec. 28, had Hall jumped as far.
“I only improved by a half-inch. My goal was to reach 20 feet but that was not a priority at the nationals. I am very satisfied. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Hall said.
The performance capped a season of records and personal improvements.
At the Class B state meet, Hall won and broke her own state record in the long jump (19-33/4); won and twice broke the 10-year-old state record in the 55-meter dash (7.05); and won and broke her own state record in the 200 (25.36).
Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at: