WALES — Drew Gamage never used to fancy himself as a track and field athlete.

He had done the sport here and there during the summer in elementary school, but it was not until his junior year of high school he — at the urging of his older brother, Derek — dedicated himself to the sport. It was not long before he figured out he was pretty good at it, to say the least.

Competing primarily in the long, high and triple jumps, Drew Gamage took top six finishes in all three events at the Class C boys outdoor track championships as a junior. Even still, it was apparent to Gamage early this spring that he had even more room to grow.

“The first meet at Falmouth I beat my (personal record) every jump,” Gamage said. “I just kept getting more and more. That’s when I noticed that I could do better than I thought.”

Gamage went on to win the Class C title in the triple jump with a new meet record of 45 feet, 9 1/2 inches. He was also second in the high jump (6-0) and fifth in the long jump (19-8 1/4). The following week at the New England Championships at Thornton Academy he posted a mark of 46-1 1/2, good enough for third place.

“It was quite nerve-wracking just how good other people were,” Gamage said of his experience at New Englands. “It was mind-boggling to see (Kurt Robakiewicz of Upton, Massachusetts) get 46-11.”

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While Gamage met his match at New Englands, he was unrivaled in Maine in the triple jump. For his efforts this season, Gamage has been named the 2015 Kennebec Journal Boys Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.

Gamage may have had an all-time great season in the triple jump, yet he could not help feeling slightly disappointed that he could not replicate a leap he made earlier in the season at one of the championship meets. In a meet held on May 5 at Lisbon, Gamage uncorked a mammoth jump in his final attempt of the day in the triple jump of 46-7.

“There was a lot of disappointment just because I knew I could have done a lot better (at states) but i just wasn’t doing the right things at the right time,” Gamage said. “I still got over 46 feet at New Englands, so I was happy with that.”

While the 46-7 jump was certainly memorable, Gamage said the atmosphere around him that day at Lisbon is what will stay with him most. Gamage competed as an individual representing Oak Hill, but was more or less an adopted member of the Lisbon team as he practiced and traveled to meets with the Greyhounds.

“The one thing I probably will remember is all the people rooting for me without actually being in the same school system as me,” he said. “Just a no-name guy, rooting for me when they don’t really have to.”

Gamage made a name for himself in track this spring, and will be looking to continue his run of success next year as he will compete in indoor and outdoor track at the University of Southern Maine.

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“I’m hoping they have great coaches that can finish up my technique and that I can go a lot further,” Gamage said. “I’m excited to go, no doubt about that.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

ecrawley@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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