READFIELD — When Olympic luger and Augusta native Julia Clukey was looking for speakers for her 10-day summer camp on Maranacook Lake, she couldn’t think of a better person to help get the camp’s message across to over 100 young girls than an aspiring Olympian who lives an hour away.

Kate Hall, the Lake Region High School track star from Casco and new national high school long jump record-holder, couldn’t think of a better person to discuss her Olympic dreams with than Clukey. So she agreed to tell her story of overcoming Type 1 diabetes and qualifying for next year’s Olympic Trials to campers at Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls on Thursday.

The camp, which wrapped up its fourth year Thursday, aspires to help girls grades 4-8 develop self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, has watched Hall for some time and knew her story would resonate with her campers.

“With this camp, I’m always looking for local young ladies that are out there working hard, setting goals for themselves, going above and beyond and meeting those (goals),” Clukey said. “Being close to their age, she was the perfect person. I was super excited when she responded back and said she would come up to camp.”

Clukey isn’t the only one eager to hear Hall’s story. Hall’s phone has been ringing off the hook since June 21, when she broke a 39-year-old record with her jump of 22 feet, 5 inches at the national high school track and field championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.


“That was the craziest day and craziest event that I’d ever competed in,” she told the campers. “On the inside, I was freaking out. Physically, I looked relaxed, but I wasn’t at all.”

Hall, who also finished third in the 100-meter dash at the meet, broke the record on her final jump of the competition, blowing past her own goal of 21 feet and the girl who was leading at the time with a jump of 21 feet 5 inches.

“I looked at the board and I just couldn’t really believe what I was looking at,” she said. “I was just so overwhelmed and happy. Everyone was going crazy in the stands and all of my competitors were giving me hugs. It was just unbelievable.”

With the jump, Hall qualified for next year’s Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. A top three finish will land her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and a trip to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 summer Olympics.

Hall, who is home schooled and ran outdoor and indoor track for Naples-based Lake Region the past four years, was diagnosed with diabetes and started running track at age 10. Watching the 2012 London Olympics inspired her to try to become an Olympian herself.

On Thursday, she hoped to inspire Clukey’s campers.


“I want to help them realize that setting goals is important and that they can really accomplish anything if they put their mind to it,” Hall said.

“Just knowing the girls, I know they’re going to take something home with them from her story and hopefully they’ll all go after their own dreams and goals,” Clukey said.

Clukey said she sees a little of herself in Hall, especially when she stressed to campers that goals are important, but obsessing over them is counter-productive.

“Regardless of your sport, you all have similar mindsets,” said Clukey, who is training in Maine for her upcoming season, which starts in October. “When she’s talking about how you have to be willing to work hard and put the time in, I think that’s parallel across the board. And I’m kind of similar in my approach to training. You can’t really focus too much on everything that you want to do as far as results, but you can focus on what you’re doing every day with your training to make sure that you’re prepared for those opportunities.”

Hall hoped for the opportunity to speak with Clukey and get some tips on chasing her dream from another Maine Olympian.

“That would be cool. I may talk to her about that,” Hall said.

Hall’s schedule is packed now that she’s back home, but not with track activities. She said she plans to take some time off to let her body recover before resuming strength training in a month to prepare for her college career at Iowa State, which she will attend in the fall on a full athletic scholarship. There, she will be joining several Mainers in the track and field program, including her close friend Bethanie Brown, the former Waterville Senior High School middle-distance star.

As if Hall didn’t already have enough to look forward to, ending her high school track career with a new national record and taking one step closer to the Olympics has her thinking what all of her hard work has done for her, and what more it could do.

“It gives me a lot of hope for the future. We’ll see what happens,” Hall said.

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