Lewiston High School track coach Carolyn Court will be inducted into the Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Carolyn Court had a career that most runners dream of.

An All-American at Southern Connecticut State University in the 800-meter run (she ran a 2:14), Court moved on to become a grad assistant at Penn State in 1979, where she became an assistant track coach.

Thirty-nine years later, Court will be inducted Sunday into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame.

“It was great,” Court said of being inducted. “Quite an honor, for sure. I didn’t grow up here. I came here, like a lot of people they follow from athlete on to coach but I just plopped into town (as a) coach.”

Court’s path to Maine was a pretty quick one. A fellow coach at Penn State knew of a job opening at Bates College, made some phone calls, and before she knew it Court was on a plane to be the head coach of the cross country team.

“I was coming out of grad school,” Court said. “All-American, division one school, state champion, I had coaching experience, which very few women had, so they were just starting to add them. The coach at Penn State came up to me and said they were adding track coaches, so she suggested me and they invited me.”

When Court joined Bates in 1979, the school didn’t even have an outdoor track. She became the outdoor track coach in 1983, but had to practice in Bates’ Merrill Indoor Gym. While the facilities, at the beginning, were a hurdle, Court quickly found that athletes in New England were easily coachable.

“The athletes were more focused, set goals and they worked towards them,” Court said. “They were really receptive to motivation.”

Court used the athletes’ hard work to her advantage, winning cross country Coach of the Year in New England Division 3 in 1995, and her athletes won 27 All-American awards during her tenure.

In 1994, Court joined the staff of the Auburn Running Club of which she was a part until 2016.

“That was really the most fun,” Court said. “You can see the development, you can see them grow year after year and we had so many athletes staying here. You were just building off last year, they were more mature, little taller, and faster.”

The Auburn Running Club was an extraordinary pipeline used for Auburn and Lewiston, helping set the two high schools up with athletes.

“It was really fun,” Court said. “It really helped the middle school and high school teams to have that experience. They get to the middle school and know what they’re doing.”

With more than 100 kids some years, Court used the help of college and high school kids to facilitate the program.

Upon retiring from Bates, Court wound up at the middle school coaching its track and field team, which came with it’s own challenges.

“That was probably the hardest thing I’ve done,” Court said. “I was the head coach when my daughter was on the team. That was the hardest. The numbers were huge, and I wanted to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. You get things going and they’re off.”

In the 2013 season, Court joined head coach Paul Soracco on the Lewiston High School track and field staff. When Soracco was named the head coach, he wasn’t accepting the job without his partner.

“We were into it, coaching the middle school, not many people take it as serious as we do,” Sorraco said. “They were getting training they’d probably never had. (Lewiston Athletic Director) Jason Fuller asked me, “would you be interested in taking over the high school team?” And I said, ‘If I am doing it, I want Carolyn as part of it.’ He said absolutely.”

Since their year together at the middle school, they’ve been inseparable, with Soracco crediting much of their success to Court’s attention to detail.

“She is so task-orientated,” Soracco said. “Crosses all her t’s and dots every I, and I have earned so much from her myself over the past few years. She does it all. For me, even though she is my assistant, she takes care of a lot of things. I couldn’t imagine doing it without her.”

“Paul and I come as a package deal,” Court said. “I do the computer stuff, paperwork, recommendations. He’s definitely the face of the program, a disciplinarian. He’s organized, demanding, high standards, he thinks beyond the win, the character building. He kind of goes with how I coach.”

Court is still an assistant at Lewiston on their indoor and outdoor track and field teams. She is also the middle school cross country coach, another challenge that Court has taken on with full force.

“It was so new to them and you have a range of talent,” Court said. “That was challenging. The skill range was huge. (Last year) was a very successful season for boys team and some individual girls.”

Court has been coaching for almost 40 years in some capacity or another, but, according to Soracco, still takes it as serious as a first-year coach.

“It’s her life, it really is,” Soracco said. “She never stops. She’ll be texting me at 3 in the morning about the meet the next day and I’m like ‘what are you doing, go to bed.’ I am excited for her to be inducted, I don’t know why it hadn’t happened sooner.”


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.