Between all the pomp and circumstance Saturday night at graduation, Rebecca Leclerc just hopes she can do a little boasting as well.

With the Class C state championship track meet today at Foxcroft Academy, the Livermore Falls senior wants her diploma tonight, but she’d like a few medals to go with it.

“I just want to do well,” said Leclerc. “I have graduation right after. I know everyone’s going to be there. Everybody’s going to ask me, ‘How’d you do?’ I don’t want to tell them I came in third. I want to tell them I’m a champion.”

Leclerc’s only first-place wins at the state meet have come in the 4×100 relay, an event the Andies have claimed the last two years. She has had a second, third and fourth at states during her career.

“I’ve come close but haven’t won,” she said. “It would be different. It would be fun. It’s always been with the (relay) team, which I love because the 4×100 is awesome, but I’d like to win an individual for once.”

Leclerc is coming off a dominant performance at the MVC meet last week. She not only won with the relay team, but also claimed the 100 and 200, earning her the most outstanding female athlete honors at the meet.

“I did not expect it at all,” said Leclerc, who scoffed when others mentioned she might contend for the award. “There were so many girls in the MVC that are so good. It was really exciting, and it was a surprise. I was really happy. I showed it off to everybody and called everybody. I was so excited.”

The 4×100 relay team, which consists of Leclerc, Helaina Lake, Missi O’Connor, Heather Roux and Kendra Lyman, are the top seeds today. Leclerc is seeded second in the 200, behind Orono’s Kate Bulteel. In the 100, she’s seeded third behind Hall-Dale’s Katie Frett and Central’s Beth Dauphinee.

“So maybe I’ll come out and surprise some people,” said Leclerc. “I’d like to win, but I don’t want to go into it really cocky. I would love to get in the 12’s again, and I’d like to beat my time in the 200. I definitely want to take home the 4×100 because that’s been a tradition the last two years. We don’t have Kelsey (Bilouris) because she was our anchor. Now I am the anchor. So that puts a lot of pressure on me, but I think we can do it.”

Leclerc has put herself in a position she’s dreamed off since joining the small track program at Livermore Falls. Bilouris was a sensation during her career and raised the bar for Leclerc’s expectations. Bilouris won the 100, the 200 and anchored the relay win last year.

“Coming into it my freshman year, I didn’t think I’d be very fast,” said Leclerc, who finished fourth in both the 100 and 200 last year. “I just wanted to do track. I saw how passionate Kelsey was and how she practiced every day. I said ‘That’s what I want to do.'”

Whether it was in meets or drills in practice, Leclerc always seemed to be chasing Bilouris, but that was fine by her.

“When we’d practice together, she always used to be ahead of me,” said Leclerc, who will study architecture at Wentworth next year. “I’d always be like ‘I’m going to do that someday. I’m going to be in the front.’ I just kept with her. I didn’t let my head hang low because I knew she was awesome.”

With Bilouris graduated, Leclerc sees a difference. She’s missed Bilouris’ presence as a friend and as a teammate that pushes her, but Leclerc has stepped nicely into the role of being the team leader and point producer. She’s discovered she hasn’t been trying to top Bilouris at all but trying to better herself instead.

“It feels really good to be at the top finally, but I don’t really look at the place I’m in,” she said. “It’s more like I really want to beat my own times. I don’t really compete against other people. I compete against myself.”

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