AUBURN – Edward Little sophomore Makenna Drouin is entering her first season of indoor track and field as a rookie and one of the best at her events.
As a freshman last spring, Drouin took almost six seconds of her time in the 300-meter hurdles and finished the outdoor track season as the Class A state champion setting a personal best of 46.06 seconds.
It was not only Drouin’s first track competition, but also the first track and field season of his life.
No summer with the youth track program, no college track. Nothing.
Drouin had always spent her springs playing softball, but she wanted to do something different in her freshman year at Edward Little High School. She knew she was fast, so she chose outdoor athletics.
“I’ve always liked to run, but I’ve always played softball,” said Drouin. “I didn’t want to play softball anymore and loved to run so I watched the track and really wanted to do it. “
In his first outdoor track and field competition, Drouin won all of his races.
“It went pretty well,” said Drouin. “It was the first time I realized I was really good at it, and I won all of my events. It was shocking, but it made me so happy.
“She’s never done track and field before and was very calm and shy, kept to herself and basically try out whatever events we suggested,” said outdoor track and field coach Edward Little, Rebecca Hefty. “The first meeting went and, ‘Wow’, that’s all I could say. Where is she from? After the first encounter it was uphill from there. … Makenna is a very athletic and talented sprinter.
Drouin trained primarily under Hefty’s tutelage, but Angie Jalbert, Edward Little’s Indoor Athletics head coach and away team assistant, quickly caught wind of the phenomenal freshman.
“I didn’t know anything about her and honestly because (Rebecca) Hefty was working more with her I didn’t know anything,” Jalbert said. “Until we started getting results (and) I started asking, ‘Who is this freshman out of nowhere? It’s incredible.’ I really got to know her from about halfway through the season.
Drouin quickly got on everyone’s radar in the 100m, 200m, 100m hurdles and 300 hurdles. But it took Drouin a little longer to figure out how fast she was going.
“I didn’t think I was going to do well with my run,” said Drouin. “I knew I had speed, but I didn’t think I was going to do well in my first season. I ended up doing well with my first season.
In addition to his 300 hurdles championship, Drouin was second, by four tenths of a second, in the 100-meter hurdles (15.46 seconds), fifth in the 200 (26.57) and eighth in the 100 (13.58) at the class A outdoor state meeting.
‘SHE WORKS FOR HIM’
Jalbert looks forward to working more closely with Drouin in his first indoor season (the 2020-21 season has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
“She had never done a track of any kind, and somehow arrived without knowing the hard work involved and the dynamics of the track ahead,” Jalbert said. “It’s definitely an adjustment. Coming inside now, she knows how it works. Her effort is there, she is working on it. She didn’t know what to expect last year but arrived (in the indoor season) knowing what to expect, and she’s ready to go and focus.
“She knows, not being a veteran track athlete, that her form isn’t perfect. She’s quick and clearly athletic, so we’re just working on reducing that shape because she’s going to keep propelling herself forward.
While Jalbert and Drouin recognize that sophomore form needs some work, Jalbert notes that Drouin’s raw athletic ability jumped off the track early on.
“I would just say that when you come in with no experience and do it right – win every meet, KVAC, a state title – you come in with raw talent,” Jalbert said. “If you come in with no experience, you just come in with raw talent. Now he is focusing on form and your coordination.
In his first indoor track competition last week, Drouin completed the 55-meter sprint (7.55 seconds), 200 (27.71) and 55-meter hurdles (8.97). She won the 200 by 2.73 seconds and the 55-meter hurdles by 1.01 seconds.
“I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know if it would be different inside and out, but it ended up being the same for me,” said Drouin. “I just had to start over, and it was the same.”
Drouin’s hurdles time was the best time in Maine, 0.27 seconds ahead of Gorham’s Alyvia Caruso.
While Drouin’s raw talent is undeniable, Edward Little’s indoor co-head coach Rick Smith said his success takes a lot of work.
“His work ethic, his attention to detail and his desire to improve,” said Smith. “I worked with the track outdoors last year, but I didn’t work specifically with her, but this year she’s extremely focused and you can see, ‘OK, I have a knack for that and I want to improve myself every day. ‘”
Drouin has already positioned herself as one of the top sprinters and hurdlers this season indoors, but she doesn’t think too far beyond competition and improvement.
“I would like to get as many points as I can and as many wins as I can, but if I don’t win, that’s okay,” said Drouin. “It’s more of a challenge if someone beats me. I want to go beat them next time.