Winthrop's Ingram off to fast start at USM
GORHAM — After a strong indoor track and field season, University of Southern Maine freshman Rachel Ingram has not waited long to make her presence felt in outdoor.
Ingram, Winthrop High School graduate, was named the Little East Conference Rookie Field Athlete of the Week on Monday for her performance at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University Spike's Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla. last weekend. She won the same honor twice during the indoor season.
At the Spike's Classic Ingram set a new personal best in the triple jump with a leap of 35 feet, 1/4 inch to place fifth. The jump was the sixth best in the triple jump in USM outdoor history. She also competed in the long jump with a leap of 15-7 and ran a leg of the Huskies' 4×100-meter relay.
"It's gone really well," Ingram said. "I've gotten a lot more practice than I've ever had and I've been able to focus on jumping. I've seen a lot of improvement between this year and last year."
For some athletes, making the jump from high school to collegiate athletics can be difficult, but Ingram has had quite a bit of success so far in her career with the Huskies. Part of that, Towle said, comes from Ingram's approach.
"She's so coachable. She can listen to something, she'll absorb it and not all athlete are like this," he said. "She can really make changes really quickly. That's one of her great strengths.
"..She definitely still has the hunger to get better and she asks great questions."
The biggest changes, according to Ingram and Towle, have come with her approach in the triple jump.
"George is really big on approaches," Ingram said, "so I spend probably the most time at practice running down the runway trying to perfect my run."
For some that may seem monotonous but for Ingram it's all about doing what she needs to do to get better. A result like the one she had this past weekend proves to her she is on the right path.
"Thirty-five (feet) was actually my goal for this outdoor season so I was excited that I got it so early," Ingram said. "It's just an awesome feeling knowing that all that hard work pays off."
While triple jump is Ingram's top event, Towle said he is also exploring other ways she can contribute. She already does the long jump and is working on adding the pole vault to her repertoire. Towle said he would like to have her run a leg of the Huskies' 4×100 — like she did in Daytona Beach — although in most meets it will not be logistically feasible.
One thing that is certain is that even with all her accomplishments early in her collegiate career, there is still plenty of room for Ingram to grow at USM.
Evan Crawley — 621-5640