National track champion
“So far I love Iowa State!” says Casco native Kate Hall, who recently migrated West to begin studying – and competing – at the collegiate level.
Hall – as anyone who’s even glanced at Maine high school track in the past four years already knows – is a 12-time state champion, two-time New England Champion and a two-time National Champion.
Like any young person venturing out into the wider world, Hall occasionally feels apprehensive. Champions, though, refuse to yield, even to their own fears, and Hall is adjusting in stride (pun intended) to her new life.
“There are always some mixed emotions about leaving home for the first time,” she says. “The transition was easier than expected because everyone was so accepting of me from the get-go.”
“Practices didn’t start until a month after I got here,” she says, “so I trained with my roommates every day until then. That helped ease the transition even more, instead of immediately jumping into being busy with practices and classes.”
Hall, a Lake Region High School grad, is both a sprinter and a long-jumper, though the latter has become her primary focus. It’s in the long jump, after all, that she smashed a 39-year-old record at the New Balance Nationals in June, leaping 22 feet, 5 inches.
Her performances in the past year or so, jawdropping to watch, vaulted her into the world top 10 – and not just among high school girls or college women, but among all women.
She heaps much credit for her success on Chris Pribish, her longtime trainer back here in Maine, and is happy that Pribish continues to figure in her development, if less directly now.
“I stay in touch with Chris very often,” she says. “I tell him how my workouts are going, how I’m feeling, how my classes are. It’s also encouraging to know that my coach talks to Chris once in a while and gives him updates.”
Hall describes her immersion into a new training routine: “Practices have been going really well. The first four weeks we got into the basic mechanics of sprinting and several drills. I never had technical coaching in high school. Currently, we’re getting into more jump-related drills, sled pulls, block starts and lifting.”
“I can not only feel myself improving,” Hall says, “but my teammates, as well. Everyone has said that this year, we feel more like a team and that we are all improving together.”
So does Hall miss Maine? She doesn’t seem to – but perhaps that’s only because her home state is following her around.
“It’s funny. Iowa reminds me a lot of Maine,” she says. “Of course there are some differences, but overall it makes me feel like I’m home. The seasons feel the same, the atmosphere feels the same and even the campus has some hills that remind me of Maine.”
“One thing I’ve brought with me from Maine is the ability to stay motivated and work for my goals no matter the circumstances,” she said. “A lot of times in the winter when I wasn’t able to train outdoors, I had to travel to an indoor track to train alone. This ended up being a great thing, because I’ve learned that I will do whatever it takes to become as good as I can be.”
There’s little doubt Hall will, soon enough, take that grit all the way to her ultimate goal: the Olympics.