Champion! Kate Hall delivers on biggest track stage

NATIONAL CHAMP in the long jump, Kate Hall of Casco takes the top step of the awards podium at the national championships.

NATIONAL CHAMP in the long jump, Kate Hall of Casco takes the top step of the awards podium at the national championships.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

The night before the National Indoor Track & Field Championships, Kate Hall barely caught a wink of sleep, her dad said.

While Kate did not fixate on a certain “target” distance for the long jump, she was totally focused on what it would take to compete for a title against some of the best talent from across the nation.

“Going into Nationals, I wasn’t focusing so much on a certain distance, but more on what I needed to do in order to execute a perfect jump,” the Lake Region senior said. “I kept replaying over and over in my mind my approach and takeoff so I could replicate it at Nationals.”

She was as close to perfect as any high schooler has ever been.

Kate won the national title with a long jump of 20-feet, 11.25-inches, which broke the meet and facility record. Her jump is the fourth best result in U.S. history. Five of her six jumps were over 20 feet.

Kate also qualified for the semi-finals in the 60 meters with her state record time of 7.46 seconds. Her time was the third best in the trials. She ran the 60-meters semi-final in 7.49 seconds and went on to finish sixth in the finals with a time of 7.47 seconds.

Kate set the Maine all-time best results in the 60 meters (7.46 seconds), 55 meters (6.933 seconds), and long jump (20 feet, 11.25 inches) — quite a way to finish one’s high school indoor track career.

When asked to describe her winning long jump effort and the reaction that followed, Kate said, “I knew that if I could get on the board, then I could have a big jump. On my second jump I was on the board, but I didn’t truly realize how long it was until I heard my family yelling and whooping. Once the official announced that it was 20-11.25, I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was cheering and congratulating me. I was speechless.”

Kate was no stranger to the national event, but this trip to New York had a little different feel.

“Even though I had competed at Nationals in the past, it felt different this time considering I was seeded to win, which was never the case in the past,” she said. “This put a different pressure on me (mostly from myself), but I was able to calm my nerves and focus on what I needed to do when the moment came.”

Although Kate has eclipsed several sprint and jumping marks and rewritten the record books multiple times, her approach has remained the same.

“One of my philosophies is that I should take things one day at a time; one practice at a time, one meet at a time, one event at a time, one season at a time,” she said. “I’ve tried my best to not focus so much on what is to come months or years from now, but focus on the tasks and goals at hand.”

However, a year ago, Kate had a goal of setting the national meet record the following year.

“At the time, it seemed as sort of an unrealistic goal, but as the next season and meets went on, it began to turn into a very realistic goal,” she said. “Achieving this goal really proved to me if I work as hard as I can and keep taking things one day at a time, then I could go very far.”

Local fans and fellow competitors often wonder, “What will Kate do next?”

“Even though I take things one meet a time, it is still great to have goals to motivate myself. During the outdoor season, my ultimate goals are to jump 21 feet, set a personal record by a couple of tenths in the 100m, and then close my senior year by becoming a national champion once again,” she said. “I believe I can do this if I stay focused on my training and also on the little details that are involved in my training and technique that will help me go just a little bit farther and faster.”

While the public spotlight shines brighter and brighter as Kate’s list of track records and achievements grows, she remains humble and appreciative.

“I want to thank everyone for their support and kindness throughout my whole high school career!” she said. “It has motivated me to become as good as I can be. I could never be thankful enough for everything.”

 

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