Many high school track and field athletes get nervous before track meets.

Not Emma Gallant, who just finished a wildly successful freshman year at Cheverus High.

Gallant won both the 100 and 200 meters at the Class A state championships, with a Class A state-record time of 25.33 seconds in the 200. It was her first time breaking 26 seconds.

A week later, she went into the New England championships seeded ninth and won with a blistering 24.81 – making her the second-fastest 200-meter runner in Maine high school history. It also helped make her the Maine Sunday Telegram’s choice for girls’ track and field athlete of the year.

Gallant, who also starred on the Cheverus soccer team last fall, said she never imagined having so much immediate success. And she hasn’t set any goals yet for the next three years.

“The way I see it, (the 200 is) 25 seconds of my life,” Gallant said. “The faster I get done, the faster I get some food. It’s just, have a good start, get there first, I’m good.”

The only difference now, she said, is track is finally on par with her first love – soccer.

“Track used to be second. I did it more as a hobby,” Gallant said while taking a break from kicking a soccer ball with a friend. “But this year was more fun than I thought it was going to be.”

Gallant credits her rapid improvement on more focused training and having teammates to push her, two things she lacked in middle school and summer rec programs.

Gallant helped lead Cheverus to its first Class A state title.

She was the Stags’ only individual double winner and ran on two relays – figuring in 38 of the team’s 74 points.

In addition to the 100 and 200, she ran a leg on the winning 1,600 relay team (4:04.68) and the second-place 400 relay team (50.63).

At the New Englands, she also ran the 1,600 relay, which finished fourth in 3:58.96. At the New Balance nationals, Cheverus clocked a school-record time of 3:58.49, the second-fastest in Maine history. Gallant’s powerful anchor leg was noticed by the announcer, who told the crowd she circled the track in 55 seconds.

Yet Gallant said she’s not going to change her approach to track, and certainly not her enjoyment.

When asked if she considered herself “fairly chill,” Gallant’s direct answer was: “Yes I do.”

And that may be her secret.

“My outlook has worked so far,” she said. “I see no reason to change.”

Nyagoa Bayak, Westbrook sophomore, jumps: Bayak won the Class A high jump (5-4) and triple jump (36-8), and had the year’s top mark in the state in each (5-73/4 and 37-1).

Darcy Cochran, Cape Elizabeth freshman, hurdles: Cochran won the 100 hurdles in a state-best time of 15.14 and was third in the 300 hurdles (46:03) at the Class B state meet.

Adelaide Cooke, Falmouth senior, throws/hurdles: Cooke won her third Class A discus title (115-5), and was third in the 100 hurdles (16:12) and javelin (110-3). At the New Englands, she finished third in the discus (130-0).

Emma Gallant, Cheverus freshman, sprints: Gallant won the 200 at the New Englands (24.81) after setting a Class A record of 25.33 at the state meet. She also won the 100 (12.60) at the state meet to lead her team to its first Class A championship.

Katherine O’Brien, Orono junior, sprints/jumps: O’Brien won the 100 (12.93) and long jump (16-81/2) to help Orono run away with his sixth consecutive Class C championship.

Kylie Nelson, Belfast senior, jumps: Nelson won the long jump (17-7) and pole vault (10-0) at the Class B championships.

Juliana Selser, South Portland junior, distance: Selser earned Class A titles in the 1,600 (5:11.01) and 800 (2:16.95).

Hannah Steelman, Orono senior, distance: A double winner in Class C, Steelman won the 1,600 (5:07.62) and 3,200 (11:09.91).

Tia Tardy, MDI senior, distance: Tardy won the 800 in a Class B-record time of 2:14.76 and took the 1,600 title in a state-leading time of 5:01.14. She also finished fourth in the 800 at the New Englands with an all-time Maine best of 2:09.64.

Emma White, Cheverus sophomore, jumps: White won the Class A long jump with a state-leading mark of 18-2 and finished second in the triple jump (36-7).


Steve Virgilio, Cheverus: Virgilio led Cheverus to its first Class A state championship, with more than half of the team’s 74 points coming from underclassmen.

UPDATE: This story was updated on July 14 at 5:50 p.m. to show that Darcy Cochran competed in the Class B state championships.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

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Twitter: FlemingPph