UMaine-Farmington’s Naomi Moulton races down the track during a meet Jeff Lamb Photography

UMaine-Farmington’s Joe Ashby keeps his distance during a track meet. Jeff Lamb Photography

There was no way Sean Cabaniss would pass on an opportunity to return to his alma mater and become the new University of Maine at Farmington track and field head coach.

“I had a great experience at UMF and I think it’s a special place to go to school,” Cabaniss said. “I know how successful this team can be, and I want to help it get to that point.”

The 2017 UMF graduate was co-founder, president, captain and student coach during the track team’s club years, before it became varsity programs in 2015. He also was a four-year baseball player for the Beavers. 

With the addition of a new indoor track team, he will be coaching indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country programs, which means a lot of hours for the first-year coach.

“I know what it takes to coach year-round and enjoy it. It doesn’t sound like work to me,” he said. “I spent two years at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., as a graduate assistant coach on the track team. I got my master’s degree in exercise and sport studies.

“After that, I got an assistant position at Tufts University coaching the jumps and multi-event athletes but was working at Unum insurance in Portland full-time. I’m happy to be around track and field every day now.”


His first priority is to beef up the track teams rosters, and of course, that will require more recruiting for the programs.

“Current roster size is challenging, but we have a good group that wants to get better, so that’s all I can ask for right now,” Cabaniss said. “First, I want the rosters to get significantly larger. We need more depth. In addition, I want other schools in New England to recognize UMF and respect us as a competitive track and cross country program.”

Cabaniss wants to instill to all track athletes the importance of their role on the team.

“I put an emphasis on the importance of putting the team’s needs first, and if that means we need to try different events to find success or load up at the conference meet, then we’re going to do it,” Cabaniss said.  “We have a great group of leaders this year, and a group that has been through a lot together. 

“They are very resilient and know how to overcome anything that is thrown at their way at this point,” he said. “We know how to show up on meet day.” 

Cabaniss cited two veterans — seniors Ben Toribio and Katie LeBlanc —as huge contributors to UMF who will also provide leadership. 


“(Toribio) has been a New England qualifier in the past in the long jump and is versatile in the sprints as well,” Cabaniss said.  “On the women’s side, we have LeBlanc, who is also a New England qualifier in the 5,000-meter run. She has good range and can be competitive from the 800 through the 5k. Both are captains and have done fantastic things for this team during their four years here.”

There are several newcomers who show promise and should make the Beavers more competitive this season.

“On the men’s side, freshman Alixx Canwell has proven to be a competitor in the throws.” Cabaniss said. “I can already tell that he wants to get better at all costs and has a lot of potential. 

“On the women’s side,” Cabaniss added, “freshman Sophie Taylor has untapped potential in the jumps. Although not a newcomer, I see second-year Joe Ashby as someone who can set the track on fire. He’s got the attitude on the track that I want to see and is willing to do what it takes to win.“

Cabaniss has confidence his Beavers will surprise some teams this season.

“SUNY Delhi looks very solid, and Husson has always been a great competitor for us,” he explained. “We have mixed with another conference to make the meet larger and more competitive, so it is not just the North Atlantic Conference schools that will be coming to vie for a title.”

There is no question Cabaniss, who replaces Joe DiSalvo, is in it for the long haul at UMF.

“This is the start of a new era for UMF track and cross country,” Cabaniss said, “and I want them to be able to look back in 10 years and say, ‘we were a part of history.’ (They must) put in the work now so they don’t have any regrets later.”

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