Lewiston track and field standout Amelia Wedderburn runs at the start of practice Wednesday at the Lewiston High School track. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The only place for Amelia Wedderburn to practice jumps during the indoor track and field season was in the hallways of Lewiston High School.

Lewiston track and field standout Amelia Wedderburn at the start of practice Wednesday at the Lewiston High School track. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

She could work on her approach, her speed and her hip movement, and she could land on a high jump mat, but couldn’t work on her landing.

At track meets, she would used her first attempt in the long jump to get a feel for the pit, her speed, the landing and everything in between.

The less-than-idea practice conditions didn’t keep the senior from flying. At the Class A state meet, Wedderburn jump 17 feet, 11 inches to win the long jump title. She also placed third in the triple jump (35-06.25) and third in the 200-meter dash (26.59 seconds).

Wedderburn’s standout performances this winter make her the Sun Journal’s All-Region Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“My goal was to win the long jump, which I did,” Wedderburn said. “And my second goal was to jump a 36 or 37 in the triple. I wasn’t able to reach that goal, but I am planning on doing it for outdoor. My goal in the 200 was to run a 26, and I did, so I am very happy with that.”

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Wedderburn has learned to absorb the constructive criticism that Lewiston coach Steve Virgilio offers, but that wasn’t always the case.

“I know this is a little bit of a joke thing, but I am a science guy,” Virgilio, who was hired in 2019, said. “The first season I coached, I used the word stimuli, like training stimuli. … I don’t really know her yet or have a familiar relationship, because she said (to Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller), ‘I don’t care what he has to say about stimuli or anything like that, I just want to know if he cares about us and is making a connection.’ Things like that. What I’m trying to say is in the beginning she was more opposed at the start to science points, coaching points, human performance. But now when I say the word stimuli she’s right there, she has the mental ability and the emotional part where she says, there are some things out there that I haven’t been exposed to yet and maybe there are things that can help me.”

Since the Blue Devils’ practice conditions are limited, Wedderburn uses her previous jumps at meets to evaluate and improve her technique.

“Before a meet, my coach, he typically has us sit and analyze videos,” Wedderburn said. “Even if we don’t as a team. he will have me look at the video and say, ‘OK, you need to fix this and pull forward here.’ So then we will do drills to help pull forward. When we get to the meet, I use my first jump to figure out how I will do it in my other two or four jumps. I usually get it by my second jump.”

Wedderburn wanted to break the indoor state meet record of 18-03, but fell short because, she said, she jumped a few inches before the line.

“I wanted the indoor state record, and I felt like I jumped it, but I was way behind the board,” Wedderburn said. “I jumped 17-11. And I am not disappointed, I am very happy with it. I had jumped 18-02 before and I was ready for it. I felt awesome through the air, landed perfectly, but just landed behind.”

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Wedderburn’s 18-02.25 jump came on Jan. 15 at the East Coast Championship meet in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Her 18-02.25 jump (from the regular season) was, I’m pretty sure, a top-five jump ever in Maine history,” Virgilio said. “After Kate Hall’s monster jump, she’s right there.”

In the upcoming outdoor track and field season, Wedderburn’s aim is to get stronger in the jumps and at finishing in the sprints.

“I am trying to work on my long jump, because I think I can get longer than I did indoors,” Wedderburn said. “I am trying to work on my form and get better. I am also trying to get better at my 100-meter finish because I have a terrible ending in the 100 and 200. I am trying to end better and run better 400s to get to the point where I need to be.”

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