Buckfield outdoor track athletes jog around the track at Leavitt Area High School in Turner on Monday afternoon during practice. From left are: Mya Austin, Brittany Carrier, Braden Cousineau and Brady Trenoweth. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

TURNER — Four Buckfield track runners were “sucking wind” during Monday’s training session, according to head coach Annette Caldwell.

It was the first day of the third week of practice for the Bucks, but for those four, the results that accompanied their heavy breathing were a reminder of how far they’ve come since last preseason.

“They’re way ahead” of where they were at this time last year, Caldwell said, also noting the difficulty of the workout the four were undertaking.

While year-to-year progression is common for most track athletes, progress hit the turbo button for juniors Braden Cousineau, Brady Trenoweth and Mya Austin and sophomore Brittany Carrier, who took a step outside their comfort zone and found a way to scratch the itch of track indoors.

“As our program has gotten better, and more kids are interested in it, and more kids are passionate about the running, they’ve been on me about getting indoor track,” Caldwell said. “Leavitt has so many kiddos, and they’ve been super good to us (sharing their track for outdoors), but Oxford (Hills) had a smaller squad and they were open to having five kids come. One of the five had to stop, but the other four finished.”

Carrier said the invitation to join Oxford Hills’ indoor track team felt like kind of a late notice, but the Buckfield athletes jumped on “a great opportunity.”


Cousineau, who used to play basketball in the winter before that sport fell out of favor for him, called the experience of training with a Class A team and competing against Class A opponents eye-opening.

Austin said it was kind of scary, at first.

“But I think, in the end, it was a really great opportunity because it was almost like we’ve had two seasons now, including this one,” she added. “Just a great way to start off the season.”

Buckfield outdoor track athletes, from left, Brittany Carrier, Mya Austin, Braden Cousineau and Brady Trenoweth get together Monday afternoon for a photo prior to practice on the track at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


Cousineau said the Oxford Hills program was welcoming to the Buckfield contingent.

“The coaches were super nice and were willing to go right where we left off, and work with us on new stuff that we can learn, and strategies that they use, with, like, new stretches, new workouts and all this other stuff,” he said. “So it was a really, really good team.”


One thing that stuck with Cousineau was a stretch that the Vikings taught him.

“There was one stretch, in particular, that we did. They just called it ‘the world’s best stretch,’ but I do it all the time now because it really is the world’s best stretch,” he said. “So it’s just little things that we picked up from them that are going to help us in the outdoor season; make us feel a lot more loose and powerful in our running.”


Not only did the foursome fit in with their new indoor program, they thrived to the point that all four made it to the Class A indoor state championship meet. Carrier and Austin qualified in the girls 400-meter dash, while Cousineau and Trenoweth were part of Oxford Hills’ 4×200-meter relay team.

“It was overwhelming at first. Like walking in there was loud. Of course, it’s indoor, so you’re shoulder to shoulder pretty much the whole time,” Trenoweth said. “And it was like Class A schools, so everyone there is bigger than you, and everyone there has a better score than you.

“But, at the same time, that just pushes you even further. Like all my times for the events that I’ve been doing for outdoor season, too, grew because of those people. So it was scary but helpful at the same time.”


Austin was able to race her way to the podium and score points for Oxford Hills, finishing seventh in the 400 with a time of 1:04.44.

“It was crazy to me because I think I was last — my seed was last — in the 400, and then I’m in the slowest heat,” Austin said. “I don’t know, I didn’t expect that at all. It was crazy. It’s still mind-blowing to think about.”


The opportunity for the Buckfield four to get a taste of Class A competition wasn’t lost on Caldwell.

“Being able to compete against a Class A athlete — with running, when you’re competing against somebody who’s faster than you, you are working harder than if you’re in the lead. So we are ahead of where we have ever been,” Caldwell said. “And confidence, they’re way more confident about themselves than they’ve been in the past, because of that experience.”

Even one of their teammates sees a difference in the four athletes.


“I think knowing that they all went to Class A, and they competed, encourages me to push myself harder, knowing that I’m working with them,” said junior Justin Lucas, who was training with the foursome Monday and admitted that he regretted not joining his teammates for the indoor season with Oxford Hills.

“I think I was impressed with how much they learned, and how much they dedication they had,” Lucas added.

Caldwell called the foursome’s dedication to track — in the form of going out on a limb and spending a season with another program — “sweet.”

“You know, it’s that part of coaching where you see these kids have this passion and the level of commitment that they want to put forth,” she said. “Because they believe. They’re believing in themselves, they’re believing in the program, and it’s contagious.

“A lot of other sport programs, they punish people with running and stuff. But in track, these guys like it. And they’re good at it.”

The four runners — Cousineau and Trenoweth also plan to do triple jump and Carrier might try javelin — are looking to take their times and marks to the next level this season. Cousineau said he expects some school records to be broken this season, and for Buckfield’s name to be known amongst the competition.

Monday was the foursome’s first time out on the track this season — though one straightaway at the Leavitt track still had all but two lanes covered in snow. The stubbornness of the lingering winter precipitation served as a metaphor for Caldwell’s expectations for her standout athletes.

“Once they get on the track more, I think it’s really going to snowball quickly, their improvements,” she said.

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