Track and Field: Lewiston’s Solis going the longer distance

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Ethan Solis is a senior year sprinter on the Lewiston Track Team.
Ethan Solis is a senior year sprinter on the Lewiston Track Team.

Lewiston track and field coach Paul Soracco keeps sending Ethan Solis on longer runs.

During the indoor track season, Soracco had the senior sprinter add the 400-meter run to his itinerary.

“Made him do the 400 and stretched him out a bit,” Soracco said.

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During the fall, Soracco told Solis to join the Blue Devils’ cross country team. Solis decided to give it a shot.

“I hated it,” Solis said. “Oh, gosh, I hated it. But I think it helped me with my stamina and keeping up with the 400.”

It’s common for Lewiston runners, especially those of the middle-distance variety, to be encouraged to run cross country. It’s a great way to prepare for the upcoming indoor and then outdoor track seasons.

Solis hasn’t been competing in track for long, but the short runs, the 100 and 200, had always been his specialty. So the 400 was an adjustment, but one he was able to make quickly.

He finished second at the Class A indoor championships in February, and then won the event at last week’s KVAC outdoors championships, sending him into this Saturday’s Class A outdoor state meet as the top seed in the event.

“Coach just put me in (the 400), and he’s like, ‘Just see how you do,’” Solis said. “And then, I don’t know, I think I just fell in love with the 400.

“It’s painful, but I like it.”

Solis is still learning the event, which requires a bit more strategy than the 100 and 200.

He said he usually jogs the first 100 meters, then really kicks it in gear for the last 150, picking other runners off one by one. Soracco warns Solis that he needs to stay in the middle of the pack because not everyone can be caught, something Solis learned the hard way late in the regular season.

But, again, he’s still learning.

“He’s new at it. You really got to learn to run that race,” Soracco said. “If you go out to fast, you’re dead the last 100. And he likes to sit back a lot and then taking everybody at the end. But, you get into the KVACs and states, you can’t really do that a lot of times, because everybody’s good.

“So it’s still new for him. It’s still new.”

Solis has been a sprinter-fast learner since first joining the Lewiston track team last spring.

“He only took track up about a year ago … and I remember telling him, I go, ‘Man, you got a future in this,’” Soracco said. “And every meet he just got better and better and better and better, and you know, started believing in himself, and he was amazing. Every meet he’s just improved constantly.

“I wish he’d taken this up four years ago. He’d be even further ahead than he is now.”

Soracco nailed that future part. Solis said he will be running for the University of Maine at Farmington next year.

“Just an amazing athlete,” Soracco said. “He’s going to do some great things when he gets to college.”

When race days come, Solis takes all he has learned and adds a bit more.

“There’s a lot of heart in there,” Soracco said. “Some kids hate to lose. They do. They just will themselves to win. He’s one of those kids.”

Along with the 400, Solis also will be competing at the state meet in the 200, and the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay.

The will to win made another appearance during the 200 at KVACs. Solis placed second and beat out super sprinters such as Oxford Hills’ Dawson Stevens and Brunswick’s Seth White.

Solis enters the state meet as the sixth seed in the 200. The Blue Devils are seeded fourth in the 4×100 relay and fifth in the 4×400. If Solis does in fact run both relays, he’ll be part of the meet’s fastest heats in all four of his events.

As talented and successful as Solis has been, what Soracco talks the most about is the type of person Solis is.

“He’s just a quiet spirit,” Soracco said. “Just like a really laid back type of kid. He is (confident), but he’s not a cocky kid, and the kids look up to him. Kind of like a quiet leader, you know? He just does his thing.

“Just a dynamite kid,” Soracco adds.

Solis has what Soracco says is a rare combination: athletic ability and the drive to get better and to win. The coach said he’ll miss the runner, and that it will be hard for Lewiston to replace him after he runs at the state meet and the New England championships.

“He’s getting the job done,” Soracco said. “It’s been fun to watch. I hate so say I’m only going to see him in two more meets.”

Ethan Solis is a senior year sprinter on the Lewiston Track Team.
Ethan Solis is a senior year sprinter on the Lewiston Track Team.

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