GORHAM — Emma Gallant talks like a typical freshman, always looking up to the upperclassmen on her team. But Gallant doesn’t run like your classic rookie track athlete.

After just one track season, Gallant is already one of the best sprinters in the state. She finished the indoor season with Maine’s top time in the 200 meters (26.27 seconds) and the 400 (58.86).

Yet after she won the Fab Freshman award at the Varsity Maine Awards, Gallant credited her teammates.

Gallant beat out four other freshmen on teams from North Berwick to Waterville who made an impact on their varsity squads.

“I’m very happy that I had the teammates that I did to help me along, like (senior) Emily Turner,” Gallant said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

At the Class A indoor track championships, Gallant won the 200 (26.48) and the 400 (58.86) and was third in the 55 (7.48) to score 26 of her team’s 61 points to lift Cheverus to second place.

Then at the New England Championships she led off the Cheverus relay that turned in the fastest time run by a Maine girls’ squad in the 800 meters (1:46.89).

Turner, senior Katelyn Gendron and sophomore Emma White joined Gallant on the relay that finished 11th in Boston.

But even after collecting her honor at the Varsity Maine Awards – as she stood in a group photo with the other awards winners, most juniors and seniors – Gallant said she was not stopping to soak in the accolades.

“I’m trying to get my workouts in,” Gallant said. “I’m just trying to get all my reps in. I don’t think this makes a difference in my work ethic. I still think I’ll be working just as hard, and trying as hard as I can.”

Cheverus Coach Steve Virgilio said while it’s an honor to be chosen the best freshman athlete in the state, it’s hard to compare between sports. Still what is certain about Gallant, Virgilio said, is that in track and field she is a “phenomenal talent” even compared to juniors and seniors.

“Emma is certainly one of the most precocious sprinters I have ever coached or known,” Virgilio said. “The things she does at her age and experience level are things that usually come much later for most stars, or never for most athletes.

“Emma is at another level. Sometimes, in some races, she is her own greatest competitor. Sometimes, she competes against the person who finishes second when she needs to compete against herself.”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph