Running is Lilly Mushlit’s favorite activity.

She participates in indoor and outdoor track and cross country for Maranacook Community High School in Readfield and now plans to run in college at the University of New England.

And, she has a visual impairment.

Mushlit jokes that the impairment has made technology her best friend. It has also made her stronger.

“It was obviously my biggest obstacle in life, but I had to learn how to advocate for myself,” she said. “I never liked being different and standing out or the center of attention, but I know if I wanted to succeed, I had to stand up and communicate with people around me.”


Mushlit explained that she has enough vision to tell where she’s running, but that she runs with a guide, who is her teacher, Casey Spencer, and will point out obstacles like different terrain or rocks in her path.

When COVID-19 hit her freshman year, it was difficult for Mushlit because she couldn’t run with anyone.

“It was rough in many ways,” she said. “There are some aspects I liked, like the asynchronous work and working at my own pace, but it was hard socially, and sports were canceled, so I couldn’t run with anyone, and it was hard mentally.”

Mushlit plans on extending her running career at UNE, where she intends on majoring in athletic training in the school’s “3+2” programs — at the end of five years, she could have a master’s degree in athletic training.

Senior Lilly Mushlit, seen May 24 at Maranacook Community School in Readfield, plans to run cross country for the University of New England in Biddeford and study in the athletic training program. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

She knew she intendent on staying in Maine, close to home.

Her parents, Deane and James Mushlit, adopted her from Beijing when she was 5 and moved to Washington state. Along with her three other sisters, the family moved to Manchester when Mushlit was around 8.

UNE was the perfect distance from Manchester, mostly because Mushlit does not like car rides. She additionally looked at Bowdoin College and Colby College, but liked the program more at UNE because it was more pointed toward what she wants to do for a job and she applied early action.

“I’m excited for the college experience,” she said. “Everyone looks forward to it and living on campus and meeting new people and having new relationships. I’m a little scared for adulting and going into the real world and having to be more independent.”

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