AUBURN — Emily Grund led the pack, her fiery-red ponytail bobbing along behind her, as she and her Edward Little track and field teammates grinded through workouts on a chilly morning during April vacation.

“She’s out front, we want her setting the pace,” EL coach Rebecca Hefty said as she helped motivate the dozen or so girls in the pack behind Grund, and helped herd them to the starting point for the next 200-meter sprint.

“That’s the kind of athlete, the kind of person she is, and why I think she’s such a great leader,” Hefty continued.

A soccer star for the Red Eddies, Grund also carved a niche for herself on the basketball court and on the softball diamond during her first three years of high school.

This season, the hardcourt’s loss during the winter was the indoor track and field team’s gain.

And, she had so much fun, as indoor track season turned to the spring outdoor season, Grund wanted to continue. The decision was far from easy, though.”

“A big thing for me coming out here was, I decided to do indoor track instead of basketball,” Grund said. “I had also done basketball for three years, and I decided to make that change. It was a big change. But I had so much fun in indoor track, I didn’t want to see it end. It was tough, because softball is something I love, and I still love it, but I really didn’t want to see track end. I had to make that sacrifice.”

Soccer to sprints

The first assumption most observers might make is that a soccer player, built for endurance and the grind of playing 80 or 90 consecutive minutes without substitution, would be an ideal distance runner.

That’s what Hefty thought.

“I honestly thought she was a distance runner,” Hefty said. “She’s carried that strength on the soccer field. But that strength made her a better jumper, and a way-better sprinter.

“We’re doing something a little different this year, we have tests in place,” Hefty added. “Testing strength, testing endurance, testing power, all key elements to compete in all of the events. With her, she blew a lot of them out of the water. You’re not necessarily explosive as a distance runner. Could she make the endurance? Absolutely. But I think with her strength and her power, she’s going to be a great asset in her jumping and sprinting.”

Grund was a little leery at first, also thinking distance was going to be the way to go. She’s still not ready to completely give up a middle distance, either.

“I’m hoping that this outdoor season, the 400 will kind of be my run,” Grund said. “The coaches think I’ll be able to get pretty good at it, and I’m hoping I can get pretty good at it. That’s more of an endurance sprint, and that’s more the soccer side of me.”

Thinking of soccer, Grund admitted, was another big reason she opted for track in the first place.

“I’m going to Hamilton College next year, and I’m going to be playing soccer,” Grund said. “I play soccer year-round, playing for the school in the fall and the premier soccer in the winter and spring. I knew track would be much more beneficial for me in terms of training for college soccer, so that swayed my decision, too.”

Leading the way

New to the sport, the last thing on Grund’s mind was taking on the role of captain.

Hefty saw things differently, seeing in Grund a contagious spark of energy.

“The biggest compliment I can give her is about her leadership,” Hefty said. “I doesn’t matter what she’s going to do in her life, whether it’s athletically, academically or otherwise, her ability to lead and her ability to be coached … she’s just an all-around great kid.”

In her first season of indoor track, Grund was a captain. That has spilled into the outdoor season, and it’s a role Grund has embraced, if only a bit more slowly than she otherwise might have.

“It’s strange being a leader in something I don’t have much experience with,” Grund admitted. “I pick up things pretty quickly, I think. But the way I am interpreting this leadership role isn’t so much leading by proper technique, like the exact way to do things, but leading, setting an example with my work ethic and showing everyone no matter how much experience you have, you can still work hard.”

Hard work is one thing, Hefty said. Grund’s willingness to reach outside of her comfort zone is another asset she hopes the senior will impart on the squad’s younger athletes.

“She’s willing to try,” Hefty said. “She came out (Tuesday) and tried high jump, for example. That’s the joy of a kid like that. She’s like a lot of kids on our team. They’re willing to try a lot of things.”

“Our motto this year is ‘U get what u give,’ and I’m giving as much as I can, and I’m hoping to get as much as I can,” Grund said. “I hope that people kind of look at me as a leader in that way, and follow my lead in that aspect.”

Girls’ Track and Field

 

Athletes to watch

Edward Little — Marie Dufresne-Dixon (PV, distances), Jaclyn Masters (PV, sprints), Abby Dunn (RW), Frankie Lally (throws), Donna Daigle (throws), Emily Grund (jumps, sprints), Hali Henry (sprints), Danielle Demers (jumps), MaryKate Masters (sprints), Audrey Bennett (distances), Kelly Philbrook (sprints, throws); Jay — Brandi Knapp (sprints), Courntey Bubier (middle distance), Samantha Hutchinson (jumps, RW), Kristy Macomber (jumps, RW), Cassie Beliveau (hurdles), Melanie Robitaille (sprints), Shauna Gordon (throws), Natashia Couture (throws), Naomi Gettle (distances); Leavitt — Therese Raymond (sprints, hurdles), Morgan Hill (distances), Sarah Kyllonen (sprints, PV), Casey Fichter (distances), Lucy Knowlton (distances), Taren McGray (middle distance), Alana Mallar (RW), Alana Pulkkinen (throws); Lewiston — Elizabeth Dixon (long sprints, jumps), Tiffany Levesque (hurdles), Natalia Atkins (throws), Faith Shaw (distances), Nicole Court-Menendez (RW, PV, distances); Lisbon — Tara Metzger (jumps), Allicyn Fitzgerald (jumps), Angie Bulgin (throws), Bri Moore (throws), Lindsey Whitney (RW), Kayla Angelico (middle distance), Kaitlyn Doustou (jumps); Livermore Falls — Annika Durrell (mid-distances), Lindsey Jacques (sprints, jumps), Erin Gats (jumps, distances), Paige Pangelinan (hurdles), Shauna Damboise (jumps, throws), Micaela Baron (throws); Monmouth — Melissa Brassard (hurdles), Danielle Bumann (hurdles, middle distances), Molly Menice (throws), Lanayria Urquhart (throws), Rosemay Bryant (hurdles), Ashley Coulombe (middle distances), Kathryn McEchern (jumps, sprints), Tiffany Pease (hurdles, middle distances); Mt. Blue — Gwen Beacham (distances), Allison Brown (sprints, throws), Addie Cullenberg (distances), Emily Ramsey (hurdles, sprints), Marina West (hurdles, 800), Kiana Thompson (jumps, sprints), Miranda Nicely (middle distance), Abby Lochala (RW), Emily Reed (RW); Oxford Hills — Elizabeth Libby (sprints), Kali Dixon (sprints), Moriah Lee (distances); Poland — Kendra Lobley (distances), Morgan Copp (throws), Emma Turton (hurdles, sprints), Sophie Spiller (jumps, hurdles), Tanisha Elston (sprints); St. Dom’s — Marley Byrne (jumps, sprints), Alli Conley (jumps, throws), Kayla McLellan (sprints, relays), Alyse Carney (distances).

Overview

The Red Eddies at Edward Little are deep and very talented. A handful of key returning athletes and a couple of solid newcomers are going to make this team a threat to win in every meet, but particularly in the larger meets. The Eddies will easily cover every event on the docket, and in many cases, place an athlete among the top three or four in the state in those events, making it rough on the rest of the field. Lewiston and Oxford Hills have a handful of solid individual performers who will make noise at the KVAC and state level, but lack the depth to be a team threat at those larger events. Mt. Blue will be an interesting squad. Due to ongoing renovations at the high school, the team has lost its track facility, and will have to train without it.

Lisbon is going to have some company as it looks for yet another MVC title. The Greyhounds are still very deep, but are in a younger cycle of athletes this year. Livermore Falls has an incredible turnout this season, and the Andies could pose a serious threat in larger meets due to that depth, in addition to some very good high-end talent in certain events. As usual, expect Winthrop to also have a say in the MVC race. Jay, Dirigo, Mountain Valley, Monmouth and Telstar will be among those teams with solid individual stars looking to qualify for the bigger events.

Poland and Gray-New Gloucester in the WMC and Leavitt in the KVAC have tougher roads ahead in the Class B meets, with each occupying conferences with perennial powerhouse squads. The Patriots at Gray-NG are in a good position to sneak into the league’s upper echelon this season, though, with talent littered across the lineup.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: