Kaylee Porter enters this spring season with high hopes, and high hopes from within can equal high expectations.

If that sounds like pressure being heaped on the Erskine Academy middle distance standout, it beats the alternative. Porter saw what the alternative was for herself, in the form of a liver injury from soccer that robbed her of an indoor track season her junior year and threatened to do the same to her outdoor season last spring.

It slowed her. It didn’t stop her. By season’s end Porter was in peak form, racing to second place in the 800-meter run at the Class B state meet.

Now healthy instead of merely longing to be for the start of her senior season, Porter is looking to reach the top, not just approach it. She’s been there before; she was the state champion in the 800 as a freshman and a sophomore, and it took both an injury to an internal organ and a record-breaking run from former Mt. Desert Island and current Bucknell University standout Tia Tardy to halt the try for a three-peat.

This year, the path is clear and the stage appears set for her return to victory, and early signs are that she’s ready. She got to try the indoor season she was denied last year, and was standing as the 800 state champion by the end of it. She finished ninth in the event at the New England championships, too, the highest finish for a Maine athlete.

Now, all that’s left is to wrap up a dominant career, one that resulted in a commitment to run at the University of Maine, with a fitting finish. Not many athletes get the chance to underline their careers with status as a three-time champion. Porter’s got that opportunity, so it’s true. There is pressure. There are expectations.

In other words, it’s just the way she wants it.

“I’m so excited for outdoor (season),” Porter said in between her indoor and outdoor seasons. “Our track team is a family. We love to train together. It’s my favorite time of the year.”

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