In flight…Hannah, Ethan & Danica — Competitive yet supportive, triplets found niche in track

HEADED IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS THIS FALL — (Left to right) Hannah plans to compete in track at the University of Southern Maine, where she will major in biology and minor in environmental science; Ethan will attend the University of Maine at Orono and major in civil engineering; and Danica is off to University of Maine at Machias, where she will study elementary education and play on the school's soccer team. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

As triplets, the Chadwicks looked to follow their own path when they arrived at Lake Region High School.

Hannah started with soccer, but switched to cross-country. She “hated” basketball, so she turned her attention to indoor track.

Ethan gave lacrosse a shot, found it to be “fun,” but was ultimately swayed to join the track & field program after a little recruiting from his sisters.

“I saw that Danica and Hannah were having a blast doing track so I thought I might as well give it a shot. I liked it. It’s different than other sports,” Ethan said.

“I tried to get him for indoor, but he had basketball,” Danica added.

Like her sister, Danica disliked shooting hoops. “I didn’t want to do nothing, so I went to indoor track. I always wanted to try it,” she said.

And, there was a little lure — a chance to work with a rising star, Kate Hall. While both sisters were promising softball players, the connection they made with Kate and the successes they experienced right out of the gate lead the girls in a different direction.

“Kate was on the team and I wanted to be like her because she was so amazing at everything. It was part of the reason why I joined. It’s Kate. It was a once in a lifetime thing,” Danica said. “She helped me jump farther. My first jump was like 10 feet, but by outdoors, I was jumping high 14s. It was awesome to get that kind of technical advice. She was always so encouraging, just so happy to be at the track.”

Hannah agreed, “She was incredibly nice. As good as Kate was, she never bragged. She was always happy for everyone. She was great to be around.”

The track brought the siblings together, and created a solid scoring core that lead the Lakers to winning records over the past four years.

Hannah Chadwick

“Hannah and Danica tried indoor T&F freshmen year to be active and be with friends. It wasn’t until they decided to also do outdoor T&F that Dana (Caron) and I realized we would have the foundation of a pretty good team for years. With them, Sam DeSouza, Maraia Nason and Autumn Tremblay, we had a dedicated and committed core group,” Laker Coach Mark Snow said. “The team’s focus would change over the years, but Danica immediately established herself as a strong hurdler. She has run more hurdle races than any athlete in my career. The girls also picked up the triple jump their freshmen year and have been quality jumpers ever since.”

Although the trio were highly-competitive (especially at times against each other, “I wanted to beat Hannah in the 55 and triple jump. Even though I knew it wouldn’t happen, I thought it might make me jump farther,” Danica said), they went about their business in a positive and supportive way.

“Track people are their own breed. In the 300m hurdles, I always see this one girl, and we’re always friends, always talking to each other. It’s usually just the two of us racing against each other,” Danica said. “I enjoy the people the most. Everyone is friends with everyone. It’s like a family. It’s awesome.”

Ethan Chadwick

“I found track most rewarding,” Hannah added. “I also like seeing how much I’ve improved since my freshman year.”

Improve, they did.

Being both very coachable and hardworking, the girls were among the top jumpers and hurdlers in Class B. Hannah placed in three events at the State Meet, landing second in the triple jump (34-feet, 8-inches). She added thirds in the long jump and high jump.

Although she failed to place, Danica qualified for four events — 100 and 300 hurdles, long jump and triple jump.

“Most athletes go four years training and hoping they can qualify in one event, let alone four. It was a great accomplishment,” Coach Snow said.

What made them good jumpers?

Danica Chadwick

“I don’t know. Some kids seem to have better springs than others. Hard work and dedication has helped Hannah go from good to very good at her jumps. Danica concentrated more on hurdling than anything else so Hannah had the edge,” Coach Snow said. “Ethan participated in a few sports over the years. He does basketball in the winter. I’m sure he would have had similar success to the girls had he been able to train for the events as many months as the girls had.”

Ethan enjoyed success in the jumps, but also as a member of the 4X400 relay — joining Jeff McCubrey, Cam Meserve and Tim Moore. In fact, one memory he will cling to is the final relay he ran during the Western Maine Conference championships held at LRHS.

“At the end of the day is the 4X4. Everybody comes down from tent city and crowds the last corner of the track. When you are running and go past them, you can’t even see the side of the track. There are just so many people screaming, cheering you on. Every year that I’ve ran that, I’ve gotten a PR in that race,” he said. “The best was setting new PRs and getting better at something and trying new events. This year, I tried discus. It was the most fun event I’ve done. All it took was for me to try something new.”

Many teens refuse to go out on a limb and try something new because they might fail. The Chadwick trio sees risk as a challenge, not a detour.

“I don’t worry about failing. I just go out there to have fun. If you have fun, you’ve succeeded,” Hannah said.

Danica learned quickly that, when you fall, you need to get right back up and keep going.

She has hit the hard track deck three times running the 300-meter hurdles, and each time, she got back up and finished the race.

“The second time I fell, I was five seconds faster than the first time, so I had a falling down PR (personal record). You never give up,” she said.

Danica hurdling during the WMC Championships.

Her first hurdle race as a freshman was “just awful.”

“Coach Dors was just shaking his head. He kept telling me I need to step over it, not jump over it,” she recalled. “I kept working on it, and I got better, making it to States my sophomore year and placing. I couldn’t have done that without him.”

The passing of Coach Dors left athletes with heavy hearts, but they also knew the old coach would be watching and they needed to strive to reach their potential.

“It drove me to do better. I always heard his voice in the back of my mind saying, ‘You can do this! I know you can jump that far because you are the best one here!’ He would always say it. It always made me jump farther,” Hannah said. “He was a huge part of everyone’s life.”

Using failure as a motivating tool worked well for Ethan, especially on the basketball court, where he went from being ever so close to being cut to landing the starting varsity center position as a senior.

“Since I was a kid, I played basketball. I always had fun doing it. I wasn’t the best player. I just had fun. Seventh grade was the first year it hit me that I wasn’t that good. I was on the ‘B’ team. I used it as motivation,” Ethan said. “That following year, I played travel basketball. We had a hoop in the driveway, and every day I went out and shot. When I got to high school, I still knew I wasn’t the best. I played a lot of pickup basketball. I played all time. I worked really hard. I kept progressing. This last year, before the season, I played AAU and pickup, it seemed every night. I noticed the improvement. It felt really good. Everything I did paid off.”

It did. He had a solid season on the court, and even a better one off when he was selected to receive the school’s Sportsmanship Award.

“I was surprised. I give credit to my parents. They were the ones telling me to always be nice to other people. Simple things. Hold a door open. Cheer someone on. Treat people the way you want to be treated. I used those things, and I guess people noticed,” he said.

It was well-deserved, his sisters said, noting that Ethan is the social butterfly of the three. “He cheers everyone on,” they said.

Was it difficult to tell Hannah and Danica apart?

Hannah competing in the WMC Championships high jump.

“It was difficult for me to tell them apart at first. I had doubts that I was saying the right name for two years. The easiest way to tell them apart has been if one is hurdling, then you know it’s Danica,” Coach Snow said. “But seriously, they tend to wear their hair differently, including Ethan, who I have never called by the wrong name.”

When asked to describe the triplets, Coach Snow said, “They are very polite and kind. They are supportive and have been very helpful at practices. The girls were very competitive with each other, but that has eased to where they are now more supportive of each other…and competitive. We will miss their smiles, positive attitude and dedication to our school and program.”

They compete, but they also help each other through critiques or simply acting another set of eyes, seeing a flaw or a missed mark during jumps — positive sibling rivalry, they agreed.

This fall, the threesome will again venture on different paths.

Hannah is headed to the University of Southern Maine, where she will major in biology and minor in environmental science. She also plans to continue to compete in indoor and outdoor track.

Danica will travel to the University of Maine at Machias, where she will major in elementary education. She will play soccer on a “mini-scholarship.”

And, Ethan will study civil engineering at the University of Maine at Orono. While his playing days might be over, one can bet he will be shooting hoops and competing in intramurals.

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