Kate Hall sets Maine 55-meter record, wins NE sprint title

SPEEDSTER — Kate Hall, a sophomore at Lake Region (center) set a new Maine 55-meter sprint record and won a New England title in Boston Saturday. Here, she is pictured at the Class B state meet held at Bates College in Lewiston. (Rivet Photo)

SPEEDSTER — Kate Hall, a sophomore at Lake Region (center) set a new Maine 55-meter sprint record and won a New England title in Boston Saturday. Here, she is pictured at the Class B state meet held at Bates College in Lewiston. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Kate Hall is not only the fastest 55-meter runner in Maine history, she is also the quickest sprinter in New England.

Kate, a sophomore, ran 7.16 seconds in the New England Championships trials held Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston, Mass., then ran an incredible 7.07 seconds in the finals to set a new Maine High School all-time best in the event and win the NE title.

Minutes later, she started the long jump. She managed 17-feet 7-inches in the trials and was seeded fourth going into the finals. Her sixth and final jump of 18 feet, 5.75 inches (also a new Maine high school all-time best) vaulted her into first place, temporarily.

Kate’s jump must have inspired Catherine Lacy (the top seed from Darien, Conn.) as she went 18-7.5 to win the event. This moved Kate back to second place.

“Wow, what a result! No Maine high school girl has jumped farther than that (indoors or outdoors),” Lake Region Coach Mark Snow said. “Great job Kate! Your hard work is definitely paying off!”

Mad dash

The News had a chance to catch up with Kate and asked her to talk about the championship sprint (the NE record was set in 1989 by Angie Johnson of Nashua, N.H. at 6.96 and tied in 1999 by Monique Tubbs of Boston Latin H.S.; the national mark is 6.68):

BN. How did the sprint unfold, and what made the difference for you to post such a fast time?

Kate: I knew going into this meet that it could be anyone’s race in the 55m. I was seeded second, but a bunch of girls all had similar times. New England’s are one of those meets where if you don’t run your absolute best, there’s a good chance you won’t make finals. The prelims went very well, considering I set a personal record by one thousandth of a second and made finals. Even if had ended up not making finals, I still would have gone home happy since I bettered my 55 time.

I was seeded second going into finals. One of my rivals from the outdoor New England’s ran a 7.14 and I ran a 7.16. All of the other girls were in the 7.2s and 7.3s, which is still great. The thing about these bigger meets is that I have competition. These other girls are used to having competition and competing at really big meets. In a way, I believe that gave me an advantage since the times they ran all year were with competition.

I was probably the most nervous I had ever been when I was setting my blocks in the 55 finals, but once everyone was set, I did what I normally do: zone out and breathe. My start was horrible. I stood straight up and I was in fourth place for the first 30 meters. Gradually, I felt myself gaining on everyone. I could tell I was going to catch them as we came to the 40-meter mark. I passed the last two girls in the last 10 meters, and after that I felt like I was just flying.

I might have been smiling as I crossed the finish line. I’m not sure, but it was definitely the best feeling I had ever experienced. Everyone was cheering, and I had the biggest grin on my face as I waited for my time to be posted on the huge screen. I heard everyone in the crowd clap and cheer once the screen read ‘7.07.’ I shook hands with my competitors and walked to the awards stand, smiling.

I think the difference between this time and all my other times this year was the competition and the adrenaline. This meet was so different from all others because my competitors really pushed me to run faster, which I wasn’t used to before Saturday.

BN: What was your reaction to setting the record?

Kate: It’s hard to describe the emotions I was experiencing after I ran 7.07. I was just completely overwhelmed with happiness. It was unlike any other happiness I had ever experienced before. It was so mind blowing to think I was the fastest high school girl in New England and the fastest in Maine there ever was.

As soon as I had crossed the finish line I was smiling, even as I was slowing down. Everyone was cheering and I heard my dad screaming and just going crazy. Once the record was posted I just threw my arms up in the air, just completely surprised. I couldn’t believe I just ran that fast after running mostly 7.3s all year. That moment was definitely one that I will always remember.

BN: What went right in the long jump and what do you wish you could have done differently?

Kate: It was hard getting in the right mindset for long jump after winning the 55m. Because of my emotions, my mark on the long jump board was very erratic. One minute I was a foot over the line and the next I was three feet behind. My first jump was 16-5, with my mark being way behind the board. At this point, it was a little frustrating since I couldn’t calm down from the 55. I moved it up and I ended up jumping 17-9 on my last jump in the prelims.

I was fourth going into finals, and my mark was still off every jump. The best jump I had that day I fouled, and I was starting to believe that 17-9 was going to be my best that day. After I fouled on my second to last jump, my dad yelled at me across the track saying, ‘Move your mark back 3 inches! Go win this!’

I gave him a weird look when he said that, but when he told me that I really could, I calmed myself down a bit and got in the right mindset. I took a deep breath as I looked down the runway, and then I began my last jump. My mark was perfect, and as soon as my spikes clawed at the board I could tell it was going to be a good jump. I remember stumbling a little when I heard the official announce that I jumped 18-5. I was in first and there was only one more jumper left.

Of course, my jump motivated the last jumper to jump even farther, because that’s exactly what she did. I wasn’t sure if she had taken the lead or not when she knelt on the ground and put her face in her hands, but sure enough she had jumped 18-7. I was happy for her considering she was seeded first, after all.

I know for next time that I need to force myself into a good mindset no matter what happened 10 minutes before, but I was more than happy with how things turned out in long jump.

BN: How have you improved in these events over last year? And what would you attribute as to the reasons for the improvement?

Kate: So many things have happened since last year. Last year, my best jump was 17-5 and I was running two tenths of a second slower, which is a huge amount in a 55. Also, I had improved in the 200 by seven tenths of a second.

There are many reasons why I have improved since last year and even throughout the year. The stronger you get, the faster and more explosive you get. This year, I worked on getting very, very strong and teaching my fast twist muscles to be even faster. My stability has been much better, improving my form and long jump takeoff. And of course my teammates always pushed me to do my very best in practice. They are not only very encouraging all the time, but are also great workout partners and fun people to be around.

My coaches have helped me in more ways than I can express by allowing me and some of my teammates to travel to Fryeburg Academy a couple days a week to run.

Also, the reason for my increasing strength is my trainer who I see once a week. I couldn’t ask for anything more for how this season went. I am already so excited to begin my outdoor season.

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