Take a deep breath, Trever Gray tells himself before every throw. Relax. You know what to do.

With that, Gray goes through the steps he’s practiced so many times, and throws the shot. This past indoor track and field season, the pre-throw ritual worked to perfection.

“I stand in the circle, take a few deep breaths, and slow my heart down,” Gray said.

Gray’s throw of 52 feet, 2.25 inches at the Class B state championship meet at Bates College was enough to earn him the state title that was elusive last season. The Waterville Senior High School junior also won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B shot put title.

For his efforts, Trever Gray is the Morning Sentinel Boys Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Gray’s winning throw at the state meet was approximately a foot and a half better than second place Curtis McLeod of Maine Central Institute. At the KVAC meet in early February at Bowdoin College, Gray set a conference record with his throw of 51-9.5.

“Trever is driven,” Waterville indoor track and field coach Jonathan Alexis said. “Coach Matt Gilley (Waterville’s throwing coach) worked with him. When I saw (Gray) at practice, he was always on. He never goofed off.”

As a sophomore, Gray placed fourth in the shot put at the state meet, with a throw of 43-7.5. It was well below his KVAC-winning throw of 50-6.5, and well below Gray’s expectations. As soon as the state competition was over, Gray was able to pinpoint the problem.

“Last year, the nerves killed me during the state meet,” Gray said.

Gray also corrected a flaw in his motion. Last season, Gray was leaning too far back when throwing.

“I was staying too far back in the center of the circle,” Gray said. “I have a tendency to sit back. This year I was a lot more controlled.”

Gray was a sprinter and jumper when he started competing in track and field in seventh grade. With his team low on throwers, Gray switched events in eighth grade. When he arrived at Waterville High, Gray considered going out for basketball as his winter sport, but Gilley convinced him to try indoor track and field.

“Coach Gilley helped me understand my strength,” Gray, who also plays football for the Purple Panthers, said.

As a freshman, Gray placed 10th is dicus and 13th in the shot put at the Class B outdoor state meet. Improvement came quickly. As a sophomore, Gray placed second in the discus and fourth in the shot put at the outdoor championships, where like indoors, he had the state championship as a goal.

“Outdoors, I liked the discus, maybe too much,” Gray said. “Not enough time was spent on the shot, so now I don’t favor one or the other.”

“He has very high expectations for himself,” Alexis said. “He’s a good kid, a hard worker.”

With another year of high school ahead of him, Gray has started to attract attention from some college track and field programs. Among the schools Gray has spoken with are the University of Rhode Island, the University of Connecticut, and Boston College.

When the spring season starts, Gray expects he’ll be more relaxed.

“It feels like the pressure’s off now that I have a state title,” Gray said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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