Edward Little High School sophomore Makenna Drouin enters her first season of indoor track and field having already earned a state title. Drouin won the girls 300-meter hurdles at the Class A outdoor state championships in June. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Edward Little sophomore Makenna Drouin enters her first indoor track and field season as both a newbie and one of the best in her events.

As a freshman last spring, Drouin took off almost six seconds from her 300-meter hurdles time and finished the outdoor track season as the Class A state champion by running a personal record time of 46.06 seconds. 

Not only was it Drouin’s first track state meet, it was the first track season of her life.

No summers with the youth track program, no middle school track. Nothing. 

Drouin had always spent her springs playing softball, but she wanted to do something different her freshman year at Edward Little High School. She knew she was fast, so she chose outdoor track and field.

“I always liked running, but I always played softball,” Drouin said. “I didn’t want to play softball anymore, and I liked running so I looked into track and I really wanted to do it.”

In her first outdoor track meet, Drouin won all of her races.

“It went pretty good,” Drouin said. “It was the first time I realized I was actually good at it, and I won all of my events. It was shocking but it made me so happy.”

“She came in never doing track before and was very quiet and timid, kept to herself and basically tried every event we suggested,” Edward Little outdoor track and field coach Rebecca Hefty said. “First meet rolled around and, ‘Wow,’ is all I could say. Where did she come from? After the first meet it was uphill from there. … Makenna is a very athletic and talented sprinter.”

Drouin trained mostly under the tutelage of Hefty, but Angie Jalbert, Edward Little’s indoor track and field head coach and an assistant for the outdoor team, quickly caught wind of the phenomenal freshman.

“I knew nothing about her and honestly because (Rebecca) Hefty worked with her more, I knew nothing,” Jalbert said. “Until we started getting results in (and) I started to ask, ‘Who is this freshman out of nowhere? It’s amazing.’ I really got to know her from about halfway through the season.”

Drouin quickly put herself on everyone’s radar in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles. But it took a little longer for Drouin to understand how fast she was. 

“I didn’t think I was going to do that well with my running,” Drouin said. “I knew I had speed, but I didn’t think I was going to do that well in my first season. I ended up doing pretty well with my first season.” 

Along with her 300 hurdles championship, Drouin finished second, by four-tenths of a second, in the 100-meter hurdles (15.46 seconds), fifth in the 200 (26.57) and eighth in the 100 (13.58) at the Class A outdoor state meet.

‘SHE’S WORKING FOR IT’

Jalbert is looking forward to working more closely with Drouin in her first indoor season (the 2020-21 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

“She had never done any sort of track of any kind, and kind of came in not knowing the hard work needed and the track dynamic coming in,” Jalbert said. “It’s definitely an adjustment. Coming in for indoor now she knows how it works. Her effort is there, she’s working for it. She didn’t know what to expect last year but came (into the indoor season) knowing what to expect, and she’s ready to go and focused.

“She knows, not being a veteran track athlete, that her form isn’t spot on. She’s fast and clearly athletic, so we are just working on getting that form down because she’s just going to continue propelling herself forward.”

While Jalbert and Drouin acknowledge that the sophomore’s form needs work, Jalbert notes that Drouin’s raw athletic ability jumped off the track from the start. 

“I would just say, when you come in with no experience and you do that well — win every meet, KVACs, a state title — you are coming in with raw talent,” Jalbert said. “If you’re coming in with no experience, you’re just coming in with raw talent. Now it’s focusing on form and your coordination.”

In her first indoor track meet last week, Drouin had a clean sweep of the 55-meter dash (7.55 seconds), 200 (27.71) and 55-meter hurdles (8.97). She won the 200 by 2.73 seconds and the 55-meter hurdles by 1.01 seconds. 

“I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know if it would be different in indoor from outdoor, but it ended up being the same for me,” Drouin said. “I just had to start doing it again, and it was the same.”

Drouin’s hurdle time is the top time in the state of Maine by 0.27 second over Gorham’s Alyvia Caruso.

While Drouin’s raw talent is undeniable, Edward Little indoor co-head coach Rick Smith said a lot hard work goes into her success. 

“Her work ethic, the attention to detail and wanting to get better,” Smith said. “I worked with outdoor track last year but didn’t specifically work with her, but this year she’s extremely focused and you can see, ‘OK, I’ve got a talent at this and I want to improve every day.’”

Drouin has already positioned herself as a top sprinter and hurdler this indoor season, but she isn’t thinking too far beyond competing and improving.

“I would like to get as many scores as I can and as many wins as I can, but if I don’t win, that’s OK,” Drouin said. “It’s more of a challenge if someone beats me. I will want to go and beat them next time.”

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