“Prepare for every possible outcome.”

It’s not quite Anne McKee’s motto, but it helped the Kents Hill standout in her athletic career and beyond.

“I feel like I do that for everything I do in life,” she said.

It helped her become a straight-A student at Kents Hill, an accomplished violinist, and graduate last spring as the most decorated athlete to come out of Kents Hill, winning three New England Prep cross country individual championships while leading the Huskies to back-to-back team titles.

She was able to finish her career with her third state track and field title, winning gold in the Class C 3,200 meters. For her accomplishment, Anne McKee is the Kennebec Journal Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Whatever success McKee has enjoyed has been the result of careful preparation and hard work.

Both were a given as she and Kents Hill track and field coach Mike Toomey planned her 2016 outdoor season. Coming off a long cross country season in the fall and a grueling Nordic skiing season in which she led the Huskies to a second-place tie in Class C, they didn’t want to spread McKee too thin. After considering the mile, they ultimately decided it would be best to have her prepare to compete in one event for state championships, the two-mile, because it played best to her strengths.

“A lot of people can do it physically,” Toomey said of the 3,200-meter race, “but there aren’t a lot of people who can do it well mentally. With the two-mile, we felt she could go in and give it her all and let the chips fall where they may.”

“It’s definitely a race, I think, that favors mental discipline and working really, really hard,” said McKee, who won the state 3,200 title as a sophomore and the 1,600 title as a freshman.

Maintaining that discipline and work ethic throughout eight laps around the track is difficult enough for one race, let alone a full season. McKee aced her workouts in the early part of the regular season. With a month to go before the state meet, she and her coach ramped up the regimen, testing her like she’d never been tested before.

McKee prepared herself mentally as she never had before, as well. She worked through every scenario for the state race and how she would react to it. When race day arrived, she was ready.

Not long after the starter’s gun went off, she saw her opportunity and took the lead about 400 meters in. Soon, she was extending that lead beyond 100 meters.

“For as much preparation as we did, she made it look easier than it was,” Toomey said. “She just dominated.”

She may have made it look easy on the outside, but she was tormented on the inside. While her preparation included just such a scenario, she was hardly expecting it. Normally, she doesn’t even prefer it.

“I really like staying behind people, but sometimes you just have to go for it,” she said.

“That was a pretty hard thing,” she added. “I think I just felt sheer terror of someone coming up behind me.”

They never came close. She won in 11:45.23, nearly 33 seconds ahead of second place. McKee looks back and laughs at her anxiety now while also understanding that something of the sort is essential to racing.

“There have been quite a few races where it comes from within, and I think that makes you a tougher and better runner,” she said.

It has helped prepare her to run track and cross country for Bowdoin College starting this fall. McKee is looking forward to the challenge, but the conclusion to her high school running career is a bittersweet feeling.

“The high school running community here is special,” she said. “There’s never going to be the same great sense of community everyone has.”

“She loves to run, which I think is the most important thing from a coaching standpoint,” Toomey said. “She loves the sport, and that’s going to take her a long way. She’s going to do well because she does everything right.”

For all of her individual accomplishments and despite putting Kents Hill on the New England athletic map, not everything has gone as McKee originally planned. She admitted she didn’t accomplish all of the goals she set for herself when she was a freshman. But she doesn’t have any regrets.

“I’m more happy it worked out the way it did,” she said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33