Lisbon’s Kiana Goldberg, left, leads all racers over the first hurdle and went on to victory in the 100 meter hurdle event at an MVC Outdoor Track meet in Lisbon on April 20. From left to right are Goldberg, Destiney Deschaines, Emily Kidd and Kara Jasud. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Some kids stick out to Lisbon assistant track coach Doug Sautter every year during the opening days of track practice. Kiana Goldberg, a star in middle school track two years ago, did just that. 

“As the jumping coach, I see some kids and I say, ‘Oh, they’re springy,’ and she is definitely springy,” Sautter said. 

Goldberg, a sophomore, missed out on her freshman year in 2020 when spring sports in Maine were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she has been itching to get out onto the track. 

When there wasn’t a season, Goldberg made due. 

“I was really disappointed because I was a freshman and that would’ve been my first year,” Goldberg said. “I got a treadmill and started running on it and started running on my road and things like that.”

After winning a middle school championship in the hurdles in 2019, Goldberg was itching to get back out on the track for the 100-meter hurdles. Middle school was when Lisbon head coach Dean Hall first saw Goldberg on the track.

I saw Kiana really for the first time in 2019 when she competed for the Lisbon Striders in the Summer Youth Program in USATF,” Hall said. “She was a very impressive hurdler and was going to make the transaction to the higher-height hurdles very easily. But we lost the 2020 year, so we are playing catch up this season.”

Hall also agreed with Sautter’s description of Goldberg as “springy,” adding that Goldberg, under Sautter’s coaching, “will enhance her spring into amazing results.”

In the team’s season-opening meet, Goldberg glided over every hurdle and finished first in 16.57 seconds more than two seconds faster than teammate Destiney Deschaines in second. 

Her nerves, excitement and energy coursing through her body before the first gun went off may have sprung her over the hurdles a little too well. 

“I had a little bit of anxiety this morning, my stomach was hurting and I get jitters and I get nervous, but then once the gun goes off everything melts away and I am in my own world,” Goldberg said at the meet. “I was a little bit nervous because there was only one heat and I was thinking, ‘Oh, if I am not in first then someone’s going to beat me.’ I was nervous, but I realized how easy it was for me to get over the hurdles and I was a little high going over them but I just ran through it. The nerves were gone and it was so smooth. I think sometimes I overstep it and go over a little too much. I just need to skim it.”

Goldberg was springy, but her nerves were obvious to her in hurdles, and obvious to her coaches in the jump events. 

When it came time for her first season in high school, her raw talent jumped out to coaches as much as her nerves. 

“When she does box drills and stuff, we have small boxes and big boxes, mentally she gets intimidated by them but she does them,” Sautter said. “Now that she’s getting past the mental block of the boxes she is just, she’s right there with Gabby (Chessie) and Destiney, our two leaders. She’s been great. Today in long jump, she is still so raw and I just told her, ‘You’ll be fine, we will just get better and better.’”

In high jump, Goldberg cleared 4-4 but was anxious during the event. 

“I have only practiced high jump twice, so today was my first time in a meet,” Goldberg said. “It was really stressful and I hurt my shoulder but it’s OK now. It’s just getting over it is the goal and if you don’t get over it it’s kind of like a defeat in your head. I don’t think I did as well as I could have. The people watching me stresses me out, but it also motivates you.”

While Lisbon hadn’t had many high jump run-throughs before the opening meet, the Greyhounds had even less tries at full run-throughs for long jump. One, to be exact, before the April 20 meet

“We took our first full approach long jump yesterday, she’s still so raw,” Sautter said at the meet. “We put her in high jump and she was a little bit nervous because she hadn’t really done it. I told her, ‘Your best event may be triple (jump).’ We haven’t even put her in triple yet because she’s doing the hurdles, long, everything. It’s a good problem to have because like I said, she’s just very springy.”

Goldberg won the long jump in the team’s first meet with a jump of 16-00.75, just edging out teammates Sarah Moore, Chessie and Deschaines. 

In the team’s second meet on April 27, her three teammates overtook her in long jump, and Chessie beat Goldberg by 0.16 seconds in the 200-meter dash. No one was able to dethrone the sophomore in the 100 hurdles again. That competition in the team is only going to help the athletes in the long run. 

“Gabby and Sarah were over 32 (in triple jump), Sarah was upper-15 in long and she cleared five feet in high, so I mean I’m just riding the wave,” Sautter said. “It’s great. In the big meets it’ll be good and bad because they’ll be knocking each other off, but yeah, it’s going to be great because they’ll say, ‘I want to beat you, I want to beat you.’ It’s great and they’re such coachable kids. Happy-go-lucky, do anything you ask and they work their butts off. It’s a nice problem to have, having so many of them.”

Goldberg understands how valuable teammates that push her are to her success. They also help Goldberg’s mental approach, which only helps Lisbon as a whole. 

“They’re a really big inspiration to me and they help me a lot,” Goldberg said of her teammates. “I am an emotional person but it’s really nice to have those like-minded people around me and they motivate me to do better because they’re older than me, so I try to hit the bar as much as they can. It’s really nice working with them, they’re amazing runners and jumpers. It helps me a lot. It helps me push. If one of them jumps far, I try to go just as far. I’m very competitive but it’s all fun with all of us together.”

The sophomore has two hurdle wins under her belt already in this young season, with a few regular season meets remaining. Hall called Goldberg, “A very coachable kid,” and the plan is to get better and better into the championship meets. 

“Hurdles are my passion, so I would like to win as many meets in the hurdles as I can,” Goldberg said. “I would definitely like to win championships in the 100-meter hurdles — conferences, states, I’d like to win everything I can.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.