Abbey Mitchell, the Falmouth native who runs cross-country at Gordon College, isn’t the only Mainer with cystic fibrosis competing in sports this fall. Two patients in the pediatric cystic fibrosis program at Maine Medical Center have thrived on high school athletic fields.

Kate Marshall is a sophomore soccer player at York High. Jarod Farrar, a junior, plays football at Leavitt Area High School in Turner.

“I like to be laid-back and not emphasize cystic fibrosis,” said Marshall, who earned a starting position this fall after playing junior varsity soccer last year. “I’m going to go as hard as the girl next to me, if not harder. Cystic fibrosis doesn’t define me. It’s just a part of me.”

York’s season ended in a playoff loss at Lincoln Academy. On the way home, Marshall couldn’t hold back a grateful smile as the team bus passed through Portland and she caught a glimpse of the pediatric wing at Maine Medical Center.

“I was so thankful I wasn’t there,” said Marshall, who had been in that wing herself a year ago, causing her to miss being called up to varsity for York’s 2013 playoff run.

Marshall was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in her eighth month of life. At the time, her mother, Martha, figured Kate would require an oxygen mask by the time she reached her teenage years. Instead, Kate plays soccer year-round, both for York and for an elite Seacoast United travel team. She has rosy cheeks, long hair and runs fast. Nothing about her 5-foot-5 frame suggests any ailment whatsoever.

“We’ve been riding this wave of science,” Martha Marshall said. “Two things have been super important: diet and keeping their lungs clear through exercise.”

Farrar is playing his first season of football, trying something new after two years of cross-country. A tailback and defensive end, Farrar made two tackles in a recent playoff victory. Leavitt, the defending Class B state champion, hosted a regional final Saturday against Wells.

“I’ve always been an athletic kid,” said Farrar, who continues to run road races on weekends. “I ran cross-country freshman year. I started running more and more and started thinking I could live longer and healthier.”

Farrar, who also lifts weights to improve his strength, will compete in Nordic skiing this winter and outdoor track and field in the spring. He runs middle distance and does the pole vault.

Both Marshall and Farrar follow similar treatment procedures as Mitchell. They wear the vest. They take the dozens of pills each day. They use the nebulizer, which delivers medicated mist into a patient’s lungs.

They also make the honor roll. They manage their time. They don’t do sleepovers.

And they do sports. That, as much as anything, seems to have made a big difference in the quality – and, they hope, the length – of their lives.

“It’s a special challenge for these kids,” said Dr. Jonathan Zuckerman, who runs Maine Med’s adult cystic fibrosis program. “They’re so connected with their parents for their treatment, … (so) carving out their own path and leaving home can be a real struggle. That’s why exercise and being part of a team is so helpful, because this disease tends to isolate you.”

Later this month, Marshall will attend a showcase event in Boston where college coaches can view rising high school soccer players. Already she has visited Endicott College with her father and often watches their soccer games online while hooked up to her vest for treatment. Like Gordon, Endicott is a Division III school and belongs to the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Should any college soccer coach have qualms about recruiting an athlete with cystic fibrosis, a call to Gordon cross-country coach Patrick Rich could ease their concern. He said having Mitchell on his team has been a blessing for him and for the rest of the team.

“Whether it’s been spoken or not, knowing they have a teammate up against a physical challenge none of them have to endure, makes suffering through a difficult workout that much more feasible,” he said. “Abbey has done everything I’ve asked of her without raising her hand and saying, ‘Coach, did you forget I have cystic fibrosis?’

“I think it’s miraculous that she’s having as much success as she is, and it’s awesome to bear witness to that.”