LEWISTON — There was a time that Lewiston track and field coach Paul Soracco saw his athletes take off their running shoes and give them to a teammate, just so that teammate could go run his or her own race.

Those days are over now, thanks to a “big” day, an “unbelievable day,” according to Soracco.

On Tuesday, The Blue Devils received a few gifts from a couple sources. Not only did they get more than $2,000 from the North Middlesex Regional High School track team from Townsend, Massachusetts, as well as track clothing and equipment, but Lewiston received a $20,000 grant from Muscle Milk, who also will supply the team with nutritional products throughout the season.

It all started with a harmless meeting between Soracco, fellow Lewiston coach Carolyn Court, and North Middlesex coach Suzanne Williams at a clinic at Harvard University this summer.

“Paul and Carolyn told me about the large Somali and African nation refugee population, and sort of the trials and tribulations they had to endure,” Williams said. “And as a fellow track coach, even without some of the challenges that they have, it can be a difficult position to be in because track and field and cross country aren’t always the celebrated sport.”

Williams was on hand at Lewiston High School on Tuesday, along with her cross country team captains Michael Spooner and Elisha Bouchard, to present a check and donated items.


“I felt like a guardian of this information, and that I needed to do something with it,” Williams said. “I couldn’t just sit on it.”

Williams and the Lewiston coaches initially went their separate ways after the clinic, and Soracco said he didn’t think he’d hear from Williams again. But he did, and she decided she wanted her team to adopt the Lewiston team. It started with a Go Fund Me page, with a goal of raising $1,500. She increased that to $2,000, and by Monday it was up over $2,300. The Go Fund Me page had $2,530 in donations as of Tuesday morning.

“To see what Coach Williams did today, and her kids, and to be as unselfish … just to think of Lewiston High School, they didn’t even know us,” Soracco said. “And to go out and raise this money and all the work behind it, it really makes you realize that there’s still a lot of good people out there.”

Williams’ efforts also brought in donations to the Lewiston track team, including a package Soracco received from a New Jersey high school track team that contained shoes, shorts, hats and shirts.

Williams also tipped Soracco on to a grant from Muscle Milk. Soracco applied, but found out he was denied. But that was because Williams decided to apply on her own, on behalf of Lewiston High School, and she won the grant for the Blue Devils.

Muscle Milk also made an appearance Tuesday at a ceremony in the Lewiston High School gym. A representative of the company brought a giant $20,000 check and some nutritional products.


“For us to be able to outfit the kids, and have nutrition for them — Muscle Milk is going to supply us with some drinks and stuff during the season, and for them to have nutrition during meets is a big thing — and to get this $20,000 grant does wonders for our program, as far as equipment and uniforms,” Soracco said. “This is just a huge boost to what we’re trying to do here at Lewiston track. It’s just an unbelievable day.”

The grant money is earmarked for the track and cross country teams only, and with it the Blue Devils can buy matching uniforms and warmups. Williams said that, like her own team, she wants Lewiston’s athletes to be able to feel like a cohesive unit.

“I think when I first started here, we’d go to meets and half the time we didn’t have enough uniforms. We’d go in and you have all these other schools and they’d have their nice warmups and all their stuff on, and nobody knew who we were,” Soracco said. “It just gives us some identity. It makes the kids proud of where they’re coming from and what they’re doing.”

Dozens of students attended the ceremony, as did teachers, administrators and other coaches.

“We just can’t say enough about what North Middlesex has done for us. It’s unbelievable,” Soracco said. “This is going to be a big step in us moving forward.”


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