Sarah Shoulta defended her state titles in the 55 meter hurdles and pole vault when she competed at the Class B indoor track and field state championship meet at Bates College.

Not a bad accomplishment for an athlete who, up until the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship meet, was not happy with her season.

“I didn’t feel I was on par. I felt like I was just out there going through the motions,” Shoulta, a senior at Waterville Senior High School, said. “I wasn’t improving.”

By the time of the championship meets at the end of the season, Shoulta had found the mojo she’d been looking for. Her two championships helped the Purple Panthers win their fifth consecutive Class B indoor track and field state title.

For winning two individual state titles, along with helping her team continue its state championship streak, Sarah Shoulta is the Morning Sentinel Indoor Track and Field Girls Athlete of the Year. Also considered were Kellie Bolduc, Shoulta’s Waterville teammate, and Messalonksee’s Taylor Lenentine.

“She’s very intense,” Waterville indoor track and field coach Jonathan Alexis said of Shoulta. “She’s very coachable. She’s asking questions all the time. She’s always looking for feedback.”

Shoulta won the state championship in the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.79 seconds. Her state-winning pole vault was 9 feet, 6 inches. In the 55 hurdle finals, Shoulta knew she’d have to run extremely well to hold off Orono’s Lauren Stoops.

“To beat her, I was going to have to run the best race of the season,” Shoulta said.

Getting to that point was the challenge. Shoulta said a few factors went into her not feeling right until late in the season, among them adjusting to working with new coach Alexis, and the stress of her senior year.

“Technique and mechanics, that was the main focus, in both the pole vault and the hurdles,” Alexis said.

At the KVAC meet at Bowdoin College on Feb. 7, Shoulta won the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.93 seconds and she feels like to that point that was her best race of the season.

“After the KVAC meet, I felt confident I could capture states,” Shoulta said.

Shoulta’s two state championships this past season were the ninth and 10th individual titles of Shoulta’s track and field career, indoor and outdoor seasons combined. Shoulta enters the spring outdoor season as the two-time defending state champion in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, and pole vault. In the spring, Shoulta said she plans on focusing primarily on the hurdle events, although she’ll continue to compete in the pole vault.

“She’s a strong kid,” Alexis said. “Pole vaulting comes easy to her. She’s very calm, poised. It didn’t seem like anything rattled her.”

Shoulta hopes to attend either Stonehill or Bates next year, where she’ll continue her track and field career.

“Either place, I know I’ll improve and become a better athlete,” Shoulta said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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