Sarah Shoulta is competitive. Anything else, she said, wouldn’t be her best.
“I never want to put anything out there that’s not my best work,” Shoulta, a junior at Waterville Senior High School, said. “I don’t want to regret anything.”
Shoulta had nothing to regret after the Class B indoor track and field state championship meet last month at Bates College. Shoulta took individual title in the 55 hurdles and pole vault, and helped the Waterville girls win their fourth consecutive team title.
For her strong season, Sarah Shoulta is the Morning Sentinel Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Also considered were Waterville’s Rachael Bergeron, the Class B state champion in the shot put, and Messalonskee’s Amanda Knight.
Waterville track and field coach Ian Wilson said that when he watches the Purple Panthers train, he can always make a pretty good guess as to times each athlete will run, or jumps and throws the athlete will make.
“Sarah is always ahead of where I predict her to be,” Wilson said. “She rises to the level of the competition.”
In the 55 hurdles, Shoulta won with a time of 8.76 seconds to beat Traip’s Ashleigh Roberts, the defending state champion. Shoulta vaulted nine feet to win the pole vault title. Shoulta started competing in both events in junior high. She tried hurdles on the advice of a friend. Of the two, she prefers hurdles.
“I did it, and it was a rush. I said â€˜I’m a hurdler. That’s my event’” Shoulta said. “I like being pushed by the competition.”
Shoulta gravitated to the pole vault for a simple reason.
“Who doesn’t want to fly?” she said.
If Shoulta continues her improvement, she’ll fly even higher in the spring season.
“She’s really close to taking a huge leap forward,” Wilson said. “I think if all the pieces come together, she can go 11 feet.”
Shoulta said she knows exactly what she needs to do to improve her vaults.
“I know it’s just my start. I need to be faster,” Shoulta said. “I’d love to clear 11 feet.”
In both her events, Shoulta is pushed hard in practice by strong teammates. Waterville pole vaulters Gabby Bridger and Monicah Paquette placed second and fourth at the state meet, respectively. Teammate Kellie Bolduc took third in the 55 hurdles at the state meet.
“We have tough practices. We’re not goofing off. We’re focusing. We train pretty hard,” Shoulta said.
Another Shoulta goal for the outdoor season is to break the 15 second barrier in the 100 hurdles. Shoulta won the Class B 100 hurdles state title last spring in 15.44.
“I think I can cut point-four off,” Shoulta said.