Atticus Soehren always had his mind set on playing football at the college level. 

But after a Class A state championship in the javelin his senior year, Soehren found himself talking to college track and field coaches, and he recently committed to the University of Pennsylvania to throw javelin.

Atticus Soehren poses with Oxford Hills throwing coach Nate Danforth (left) and his father and track coach Mark Soehren. Submitted photo

The former Oxford Hills quarterback even enrolled at Bridgton Academy for a postgraduate year to give colleges more opportunities to watch him play football after Maine was limited to seven-on-seven football in 2020, Soehren’s senior season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a sophomore, Soehren placed 16th in the javelin at the Class A state meet in 2019. After a year off due to the 2020 spring sports season being canceled because of the pandemic, Soehren went into his senior season wanting, and expecting, to improve his state placement.

“Coming into senior year, I knew I (had been) one of the top sophomores and there was no one really below me that had come up, so I knew I had a good shot that year,” Soehren said. 

During Oxford Hills’ second track meet of the season, Soehren threw 167 feet and 1 inch, then a week later threw 167-4. After those marks, he knew he could finish the season well.

“The state championship was the goal all year,” Soehren said. “I couldn’t imagine myself not winning it, so it was the thought of, ‘I am going to win this thing, so I just need to figure out how to do it.’”

In the 2021 postseason, Soehren won the KVAC championship with a throw of 173-1. Prior to his throws at the state meet, a Division III track and field coach told his father, Oxford Hills football coach Mark Soehren, that with a few more feet on his throws Atticus might garner the attention of Division I schools. 

At the Class A state meet, Soehren ended up throwing a title-winning distance of 185-6

“At that point I had thrown 173 feet. I had never really considered that as an option before,” Atticus Soehren said. “I threw the 185 feet and it was a 12-foot PR. It was sort of like, ‘Heck, let’s see what can happen with this.’”

Soehren then sent emails to a few Ivy League schools that had track and field programs, and within two days heard back from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. 

“I am taking a postgrad year, anyway, so (I was) technically a junior, so I sent it out,” Atticus Soehren said. “Ivy League had always been a goal for football, but it hadn’t panned out. The odds looked slim over the summer, and academics were always the driving factor in choosing a school and getting a degree that sets me up past college.”

Soehren was still gearing up for the football season — and he’s played this season at Bridgton, though he missed three weeks for college track and field recruitment visits — but competing in track and field in college was becoming more and more a real option.

“In all likelihood, I would have gone and played NESCAC football, so it was a question of, could I give up D-III football for D-I track,” Soehren said. “I thought about it for a week and I sort of jokingly asked my sister, ‘NESCAC football or Harvard track?’ She looked at me and said, ‘Why would you not pick Harvard?’ Then I said, ‘I see what you mean.’”

Soehren toured different colleges, was in contact with schools like the University of North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest, but ultimately chose Penn. He announced his commitment publicly on Nov. 4 and will enroll next fall. 

“I’m definitely most looking forward to training for javelin year-round,” Soehren said. “I saw massive improvements just by throwing for a couple months while in season, so I’m super excited to see how far I can throw after full years of training, both immediately as a freshman, and also four years down the road when I’m a senior and I’ve been training year-round throughout college.”

Soehren also said he’s excited for meets like Penn Relays, a famous track meet held at the University of Pennsylvania. 

“I’m super excited,” Soehren said. “I mean, one of, if not the biggest track meet in America for four years at my home track? It’s going to be amazing.”

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