When Kiana Letourneau runs, her older sister Vanessa isn’t far from her thoughts.

“She’s a really big influence,” Letourneau said. “She’s my go-to person for almost everything.”

As an athlete at Lawrence just over a decade ago, Vanessa Letourneau, now Holman, was a record-setting runner for the Bulldogs. A senior, Kiana stepped out of her sister’s shadow a while ago, and is working at keeping some of those records, particularly in the 400 meter sprint, in the family.

“I really believe, in the back of her mind, it’s the push to beat her sister’s school record,” Lawrence track and field coach Tim Alberts said when asked what drives Letourneau on the track.

Letourneau won three Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A titles, in the 55, 200, and 400 meter races. At the Class A state meet, Letourneau placed second in the 55, third in the 400, and seventh in the 200, scoring 15 points for the Bulldogs.

For her efforts, Kiana Letourneau is the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Letourneau has been a member of Lawrence’s outdoor track and field team throughout high school. For her senior season, Letourneau decided to step away from basketball and see what she could do with the indoor track and field team. It was a decision Letourneau mulled over for some time.

“Even when I was in basketball, I was thinking, I should do indoor track. I loved all the girls on the basketball team. I loved being a part of that. My senior year, I didn’t want to have any regets,” Letourneau said.

Of her three indoor races, Letourneau said the 400 is her favorite.

“It’s one of the most difficult races. It’s one of the one I’m most determined,” she said.

Breaking the one minute barrier in the 400 was a goal all season. Letourneau came close at the KVAC meet, finishing in 1:01.47. At the state meet, Letourneau did it, and was surprised when she crossed the finish line and saw her time, 59.90 seconds.

“I’ve been trying to break a minute all season. I was told to leave it all on the track. By the end of the second lap. When I saw the time, I was shocked,” Letourneau said.

Training for the 400 indoors is a challenge. In central Maine, high school indoor track athletes get very little practice time on a track. Most of the running is in the halls at school.

“She works very hard in whatever we do. It’s very hard to simulate the 400 in the halls,” Alberts said.

Letourneau competed in the 55 and 600 at the New England championship meet. The timing of the races couldn’t have been worse.

“I had two races within 10 minutes of each other,” she said. “I was pretty tired.”

Alberts said a big challenge he faced with Letourneau throughout the indoor season was selecting the events where she could have the most success and help the team. Each event Letourneau tried, she did well.

“She threw the shot one time. It was good enough to win KVACs,” Alberts said. “She’s one of the top five athletes I’ve coached.”

With that success over multiple events in mind, Alberts had discussed a future in the heptathlon with Letourneau.

“I told her, ‘I think this is something you could do.’ She just smiled,” Alberts said.

Letourneau said she’ll focus on the sprints and javelin during the outdoor season, but will also try other events as time allows. For example, the 100 hurdles are an event in the haptathlon. If that’s in her track and field future, Letourneau will need to give the hurdles a try.

Letourneau is undecided on her college plans. Among the schools she is considering are the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Quinnipiac and the University of Southern Maine.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM