She’s certainly a senior to watch, if you can keep up.

Elisabeth Redwood is one of 250 seniors in Bonny Eagle High School’s 2016 graduating class and among the fastest young people in the state. Just last weekend, Redwood ran the leading times in Maine for the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter events.

But on Friday, June 3, at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, she’ll slow down long enough to receive her diploma during graduation exercises starting at 6 p.m.

Redwood, of Standish, started track in sixth grade. She didn’t take to the sport right away, “but my parents told me to stick with it,” she said. It wasn’t until last year, as a junior, “I realized I was pretty good,” she said.

Junior year was also Redwood’s first full season as a runner. In her freshman year, she fractured her hip, and the year after she suffered a concussion.

Bonny Eagle High School running coach Chris Strout said Redwood showed perseverance following repeated injuries.

“She didn’t give up when most people would have,” he said, “and now we’re seeing what she can do when she has significant training time without interruption.”

A pivotal moment for her running career, Redwood said, was at the last year’s state track meet, when she fell right before the finish line during the 400-meter sprint. At the time it was upsetting, “but I’m glad it happened because it motivated me to work harder this year.”

Between running, lifting weights and studying, “I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Redwood said, “and it’s paying off.”

This year, she’s shaved about 12 seconds off her time for the 400-meter race. Her personal best, and the best time in the state for the 400-meter (or one-quarter of a mile), is 57:33 seconds.

The 18-year-old sprinter, captain of the cross-country and indoor track teams, also takes inspiration from her parents, Sonia and Tony Morris, who are devoted to their work – her mom is a certified nursing assistant and her dad is in construction.

“I work so hard because that’s what they’ve taught me,” she said.

Strout described the track star as “very dedicated and very focused.”

One of Redwood’s qualities that distinguish her as a runner, Strout said, “is her incredible range as an athlete. She’s one of the best sprinters but could be one of the best distance runners as well. You don’t often see that.”

Many top athletes are scared of facing the toughest competition, according to Strout, “but Elisabeth gets mad when she doesn’t. She wants to go against the best runners and test herself.”

Redwood said she never imagined herself becoming as strong of a runner as she is, or that she would be recruited by colleges for running. This fall, she’ll be attending the University of Maine on a full scholarship.

“She’s a (Division 1) athlete, no question about that,” Strout said.

While some student athletes peak in high school, Strout predicts Redwood “will continue to progress at the college level.”

In Orono, Redwood plans to study clinical social work, and eventually continue on to get a master’s in social work. She was inspired to pursue that path by her experience at Gorham House, where she has worked for a year in the dementia unit.

She’s drawn to the profession, she said, because of the opportunities for problem- solving and helping others. At Gorham House, the nurses work hard to take care of patients, and Redwood said she “wants to be that person, and make sure others are comfortable.”

In heading off to Orono, Redwood said, she is grateful to the high school administration that “does a good job making sure we use the resources available to us. They’ve been nice and helpful to everyone, and take good care of their students.”

Redwood said what she likes most about Bonny Eagle High School is the sense of community and local pride in the high school.

Students are appreciated for their achievements, she said, and “it feels like a big family.”

Elisabeth Redwood, a member of the 2016 Bonny Eagle graduating class, running at the University of Southern Maine Track. “I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said of the sport.

Bonny Eagle High School’s graduation will be held Friday, June 3 at 6 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.


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