Oak Hill freshman Gabby Chessie, left, and Lisbon sophomore Destiney Deschaines became teammates on the Lisbon track and field team this season. Both will compete at Saturday’s track and field meet in Farmington. Sun Journal photo by Adam Robinson

Gabby Chessie is a soccer and basketball player. She’s also played softball, but when this spring came around, the Oak Hill freshman didn’t want to hit the diamond anymore.

Oak Hill joined forces with Lisbon for outdoor track and field this season. Chessie decided to jump blindly into the team and found a training partner almost immediately in sophomore Destiney Deschaines, who has been competing in track for the last seven years, coming up through Lisbon’s summer recreation program.

Chessie has learned a lot from Deschaines.

Assistant coach Doug Sautter recalls the Mountain Valley Conference championship meet last week, when it was cloudy and cool but all the jumpers had just their singlets and shorts on. But not Deschaines.

“Destiney gets up on the run way and you see all these girls in shorts and tank tops, and it wasn’t overly warm at MVCs but Destiney has her pants on and jacket on and she gets up on the runway and all the sudden the pants and jacket come off and she’s ready to go,” Sautter said. “Then I see Gabby doing the same thing, and Gabby learned that from Destiney.”

Earlier in the season at a meet at Hall-Dale in cold weather, Chessie was the last jumper.

“She took the jump and went back and put her clothes on and she still has two jumps left and they’re waiting for her. She’s like, ‘Well, I am not going to jump right now, I still have three minutes,’” Sautter said. “Again, she gets ready and stays warm, and it’s just little things like that and I think she learned a ton from Destiney and watching her and how she prepares, so it’s kind of nice.”

The teamwork has helped both succeed. Chessie won the triple jump and was the runner-up in the long jump, while Deschaines finished in third in the triple at MVCs.

Deschaines also finished in fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and Chessie took home a sixth- and third-place ribbons in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, respectively.

Chessie didn’t know what to expect as she began her first track and field season. She didn’t even know which events she would compete in.

“She had foot speed, that we could see,” Lisbon coach Dean Hall said. “It was a matter of getting the best event. We tried a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and long and triple worked. She also had enough foot speed for the 100 and the 200.”

“I had no clue,” Chessie said. “I had no clue what was going on or anything about it. I just kind of like followed what other kids were doing and hoped for the best.”

The first couple of days of practice the Lisbon coaching staff ran drills for everyone to find out the athletes’ best events. Chessie sprung into action.

Oak Hill freshman Gabby Chessie, left, stands on her tiptoes after Lisbon coach Dean Hall told her to be tall. Chessie and Lisbon sophomore Destiney Deschaines became teammates on the Liston track and field team this season. Both will compete at Saturday’s track and field meet in Farmington. Sun Journal photo by Adam Robinson

“You could tell she was really springy and had a lot of bounce,” Sautter said. “We started her at the jumps.”

From the start, Chessie has improved every meet besides one in the middle.

Winthrop athlete Aaliyah WilsonFalcone jumped 33 feet in the first meet of the year in the triple jump, setting the bar for the season. Chessie competed against WilsonFalcone in other sports and knew besting her would be a challenge.

“Gabby, the day before the Winthrop meet, you could tell she was a little bit in awe,” Sautter said. “That was the only meet she didn’t improve in. After the meet I asked her what she thought, how it went, and she said, ‘It didn’t go well.’ The next day I asked what she thought and she looked totally different and said, ‘I can do this.’ She said Aaliyah is really good at soccer, but I said, ‘You don’t have to guard her out here.’”

At the next meet at Cony, the final meet before MVCs, Chessie bested WilsonFalcone, which gave her the confidence to do it in the championship meets.

Chessie went on to beat surpass surpass everyone at MVCs, jumping 33-04.

“The first meet I saw her in she was talked up really well and everyone kept saying how good she was, so it kind of got in my head,” Chessie said. “I didn’t perform my best because I think it scared me a little, but then my next meet I kind of was like, ‘Yeah, she’s not that great.’ I did my thing and then I came out on top. I surprised myself because I beat my PR and her PR. It felt really good.”

Sautter has been a big influence on Chessie, but so has Deschaines.

Deschaines is experienced in warming up and getting ready, but the drag of a track meet can sometimes test an athlete’s energy. The sophomore has helped Chessie learn to get through the meet.

“I told her all you have to do is focus on what you want to accomplish and not anyone else besides you, because ultimately it’s just about beating yourself,” Deschaines said.

With new athletes coming onto the team from a different school, it would be easy for the Lisbon athletes to let them fend for themselves. Deschaines has taken on a leadership role and has helped Chessie learn the ropes.

“I think everyone has a leadership role because not all seniors do long jump,” Deschaines said. “So whoever wants to take it on and help others can be leaders. I felt like I love the game and I needed to step up and help Oak Hill.”

Deschaines will be competing in the 100 hurdles, long jump, triple jump and the 4×100-meter relay at the Class C state meet at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. Chessie will be running in the 200-meter dash while also competing in the triple and long jump.


Comments are not available on this story.