Edward Little High School track and field coach Rebecca Hefty, right, congratulates Tudum Monday after he won one of the two hurdle races at last week’s KVAC Large School championship meet at Lewiston High School. Hefty is retiring as the Red Eddies coach after this season. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Rebecca Hefty couldn’t contain her pride and excitement when six Edward Little athletes reached the girls triple jump final at the KVAC Large School track and field championships last week.

During the time between the announcement of the finalists and the start of the final round of jumps, Hefty pointed out the six jumpers in maroon to some of the people she knew best at the meet, such as Leavitt athletic director Ryan LaRoche, who was Edward Little’s boys track coach when Hefty coached the girls team in the 2000s.

“Hey, LaRoche!” she yelled. “Look at the triple jump final.”

Edward Little’s Saphryn Humason-Fulgham won the event and set a new meet record of 37 feet, 10 inches, a distance that sends her into the Class A state meet as the top seed in the event.

The Red Eddies also had the second, third and fourth finishers at the KVAC Large meet: Layla Facchiano placed second, Lillyann Watkins third and Breya Whitman fourth. Micah Joler and Kiara Bushman took eighth and ninth, respectively.

The triple jump was the final field event of the conference championships. Soon after it ended, Hefty, still standing by the jump pits, said, “That’s a great way to go out.”


Hefty has decided to step down eight years into her second stint as the coach of Edward Little’s boys and girls track and field teams.

“Last year, my gut kind of said, you know, you need to reevaluate this,” Hefty said. “… This year, I came out and I just realized, you know what, it’s time to pass it on. The torch needs to go on to somebody else. I’ve done my time and I’ve built something up that is amazing.”

Hefty isn’t necessarily stepping away from coaching track and field. Part of her reevaluation included her own ambitions.

“Last year when I finished, I got the confidence to realize, you know what, I could potentially do this at the college level, but it’s not — at 48 years old, trying to get into the college level is really hard,” Hefty said. “… And, you know, I can potentially go to St. Joe’s next year and work with just the jumping team, which would be amazing.

“But if it doesn’t work out, I’m at peace. I’m at peace.”

Hefty spent a few years as an assistant for the Edward Little girls track and field team before being hired to replace Steve Robertson as the head coach of the outdoor team following the 2004 season — the same offseason that LaRoche replaced Dan Campbell as the boys coach.


Hefty led the Red Eddies for eight years, including their 2009 state championship season, before stepping down following the 2012 campaign. She returned for the 2016 season, this time as the head coach of the boys and girls teams.

Edward Little still has the Class A state meet this Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, but the KVAC championships are where the Red Eddies excelled the most under Hefty.

She and her coaching staff mastered the numbers game of conference meets and how to use Edward Little’s mix of talent and depth to combine individual and team success.

Both teams’ depth was hampered this season by the school’s lack of a track due to the new Edward Little High School construction project, which includes new athletic facilities. Some athletes weren’t able to participate because they lacked transportation to Lewiston High School, where the Edward Little track teams practiced this spring.

The girls team, therefore, entered last week’s meet as significant underdogs to Brunswick. The Red Eddies didn’t have their usual depth, but in true Edward Little fashion, they found a way to score more points than predicted. They almost made up the deficit, losing to the Dragons by less than 16 points (168-152.33).

The Edward Little girls won seven KVAC titles in Hefty’s first stint and prior to last week’s conference meet, won all six since her return in 2016. The Edward Little boys won two during her second stint. Their depth was too diminished to compete for this year’s championship, but they still rack up more points than anticipated.


Hefty admits that one more conference title would have been a nice way to finish her tenure, but not winning didn’t diminish the special girls triple jump finish.

“You can’t go out any better than that triple jump,” she said. “You really cannot.”

The triple jump reminded Hefty of past Edward Little teams, and as she talked following last Saturday’s KVAC championship meet, she brought up her first.

That spring, in April 2005, the Sun Journal wrote about the Red Eddies wearing dark red bracelets with “Unity” inscribed on them that were reminders to the athletes that they were part of a team.

Togetherness and teamwork continued to be part of the Edward Little track and field program.

“I think, as a group of seniors that (year), unity was the number one. And to go out in 2023,” Hefty pauses, then her voice becomes softer. “You know, it’s family. You create a family here and you work really hard, and I think in this sport, so many people don’t see what the behind-the-scenes are. This is not an easy sport. So to win, it takes a lot of work.

“So I’m really proud of myself, and I definitely couldn’t have done this with the coaching staff that we’ve been really fortunate to have; and Steve Robertson and Art Feeley, they brought me in, and Ryan LaRoche. They handed me this, and I did what I could from what they gave me.

“And now I hope I can just pass that on to somebody else.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story