SKOWHEGAN — Flanked by her parents and with her Skowhegan Area High School track and field teammates looking on, Maddy Price put ink to paper on the next four years of her life.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” said Price, a senior, “and it’s nice to finally be precise on what school I’m going to go to now.”

A standout triple jumper and sprinter for the Indians, Price signed her National Letter of Intent to attend Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey on Monday afternoon at a table set up in the main foyer at the high school. Her schooling will be covered by half athletic and academic scholarships.

“I was deciding between (University of Southern Maine) and Fairleigh Dickinson in the end,” said Price, who plans to major in Hospitality. “Both the coaches were very interested and due to my major it would make a lot more sense to go down to New Jersey.

“We went down, we met the coach (Sharlene Milwood-Lee) like a month ago and we also went down for the students day. We talked a lot about the program. I also talked to the jumps coach (Leroy Solomon) and it was perfect. Everything was falling right into place and the money was something I couldn’t pass up, honestly.”

For Price, becoming a Division I college athlete has been as much about hard work as it has been natural ability.

Price was born in Atlanta but adopted when she was 12 days old by Scott Price and Lisa Caswell. Her father noted that she has always been an “amazingly fast” runner and would often beat her older brother, Silas, Scott and Lisa’s now-20-year-old biological son.

It was not until Maddy got to high school, though, that she discovered the work ethic necessary to cultivate her talent.

“I guess finally getting some one-on-one with the coaches and just seeing how so many people work hard … you kind of just feed off of what they do,” Price said.

Athletes like Jaycee Cushman, a freshman on the University of Maine women’s track team, and Noah Stevens offered direct competition for Price in her events. Skowhegan coach Dave Evans credits the group, among others, in helping revitalize the program over the past few years.

“(Maddy) has obviously been one of the backbones of this program for the past four years,” Evans said. “We’ve been blessed with a good group of kids the past four years who have stuck with the program and they’ve made this program.

“It was falling apart. It was ready to close down at one point. Last year’s senior class was really the backbone and Maddy was pretty much right in there with them most of the time.”

Each year Price has steadily improved in her events. As a freshman, she was 17th in the 100-meter dash and seventh in the 200 at the Class A outdoor meet. The following indoor season, as a sophomore, she took fourth in both the 55 dash and triple jump and 11th in the 200. She followed that up with her first state title in the 100 to go along with a fourth-place result in the triple jump during the outdoor season.

In the past two years, the triple jump has been a point of emphasis in her training. She placed second at the indoor and outdoor state meets as a junior, but in between the two seasons Skowhegan assistant coach Matt Friedman had noticed in breaking down film that Price had been jumping off the wrong foot.

“It tells you what kind of an athlete she is to make a switch like that,” Evans said. “It also tells you what kind of coaching we have when breaking down that film realizing that we needed to do those things.

“…(Fairleigh Dickinson is) going to be surprised with how well she has been trained. Matt Friedman has done a fantastic job working with her and developing the strength program and making her an all-around athlete.”

Price, who won both the 100 and triple jump at the Class A girls indoor track championship this past winter, also credits her family for helping her get to the next level in her academic and athletic careers.

“They have been very supportive,” she said. “They’re always pushing me, especially during the summers when I’m not really in season.”

Both Maddy and her father also noted that the community has been an integral part in her development, as well. Scott Price said he was “always worried about how she’d fit in in central Maine” — he, his wife and son are white while Maddy is black — but race has never been an issue.

“You think in this area where there’s not as much diversity you’d get picked on or whatever, but really the community is so supportive,” Maddy Price said. “I think a lot of it is since I’ve been here since I was so young and just in a small town everyone knows each other.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter:@Evan_Crawley