South Portland Red Riots Spring Athletes of the Year

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Steven Smith

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Juliana Selser

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Male:

STEVEN SMITH, Senior-Track

  • New Balance National High School champion, racewalk

  • Class A state champion, racewalk

  • SMAA all-star, first-team, racewalk

  • MTCCCA all-state, honorable mention

  • School record holder, racewalk

Smith grew from being a novice in the racewalk as a freshman to a master of that event as a senior, one who not only made his mark at the state level, but nationally as well.

Smith grew up in South Portland. He ran summer track in elementary school and ran cross country and track in middle school. After coming out for track as a freshman, he got his first taste of his unique event.

“My coach just threw me into it,” Smith said. “I realized I was a natural and it developed from there through a lot of running and interval workouts.”

He placed fourth in the racewalk as a sophomore and by his junior season, Smith was second in Class A and set a school record in the process, but he would leave all of that in his wake in a unforgettable senior campaign.

After coming in third in the mile racewalk at the New Balance Indoor National meet in New York City in March, Smith, who also ran cross country and competed in indoor track for South Portland, won his season-opening outdoor racewalk by nearly three minutes. By the end of the season, Smith had cemented himself as the best racewalker in the conference and had posted some impressive results in distance races as well. 

The postseason would be Smith’s finest hour, as he won the SMAA meet with a time of 6 minutes, 43.75 seconds. At the Class A state meet, Smith came in first in 7:02.71 and he was just getting warmed up. At the New Balance National Meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, Smith captured the 3000-meter racewalk with a time of 13 minutes, 49.09 seconds. Smith graduates holding school records in the outdoor 1600 and 3000 racewalk and the indoor mile and 1600 racewalk.

“Winning Nationals was a surprise and a lot of fun,” said Smith. “Winning motivated me to do better. Racewalk isn’t a glamour event, but I wanted to help give the event a better image.”

It’s safe to say he accomplished that mission and now Smith will take his talent to West Virginia Tech, where he plans to continue to compete in cross country, as well as racewalk indoors and outdoors. He plans to study computer science.

Steven Smith, South Portland’s Spring Male Athlete of the Year, brought attention to an event that often goes unheralded thanks to his absolute dominance. His records just might last for a long, long time.

Coach David Kahill’s comment: “Passion for distance events, great camaraderie with teammates, hard work and self-motivation have contributed to Steven’s success. He did a lot of extra running mileage and cross-training workouts, especially during his senior year, and he became a student of the racewalk. He is a very strategic and a tough competitor. Obviously, Steven’s success has meant a lot to the team, but his leadership has been even more important. The racewalk is a tough event and Steven’s direction, passion and enthusiasm have been infectious for his teammates. Steven also has an exceptionally positive attitude, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for all of his teammates’ progression and success in every event. He truly has been a role model in character, leadership, work ethic and attitude.”

Previous winners:

2016 Sam Troiano (baseball)

2015 Henry Curran (baseball)

2014 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)

2013 Duncan Preston (lacrosse)

2012 Brendan Horton (baseball)

2011 Adrian Reid (track)

2010 Adam Burpee (lacrosse)

2009 Ben Linscott (lacrosse)

2008 Will Furbush (baseball)

2007 Eugene Arsenault (lacrosse)

2006 Thomas McCoubrey (track)

2005 Justin Collett (baseball)

2004 Scott Guillerault (baseball)

2003 Anthony Dambrie (track)

2002 Greg Norton (baseball)

Female:

JULIANA SELSER, Junior-Track

  • Class A state champion, 800

  • Class A state champion, mile

  • SMAA all-star, first-team, 800

  • SMAA all-star, first-team, mile

  • SMAA all-star, third-team, 400

  • MTCCCA all-state, first-team

If it seems that Selser raises the bar each sports season, that’s because she does and this spring, she won a pair of individual state titles, further burgeoning her reputation as one of the state’s best distance runners and all-around athletes.

The South Portland native began competing in track in middle school and has been a standout for the Red Riots in soccer, as well as indoor and outdoor track.

Selser won the 800 outdoors as a freshman, then repeated as a sophomore. She’s also won that event twice indoors. This spring, Selser took things to another level.

Selser won the 400 in the season’s first meet and while she continued to dominate in the 800, she also took on the mile, in addition to taking part in relays.

At the SMAA championship, Selser won the mile for the first time (5 minutes, 8.72 seconds) and also rolled to victory in the 800 (2:19.06). That was a precursor of what was to come at the state meet, when Selser took the 800 in 2:16.95 and won the mile as well in 5:11.01. She also anchored the Red Riots’ fifth-place 4×400 relay team.

Selser competed at two more races, coming in 11th in the 800 (2:14.45) at New Englands, then setting a new school record in that event at the New Balance National meet in North Carolina (2:14.11).

“Juliana had a steady progression all season of improved pacing, race tactics and time progression,” said South Portland coach Karen Reardon. 

Selser wants to compete in both soccer and track in college and will have many suitors. 

First, however, she’ll have a senior year where she can continue to excel. Juliana Selser, South Portland’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year, isn’t done cementing her legend.

Coach Karen Reardon’s comment: “Juliana had a spectacular season this spring. She ran some terrific races and really led by example. Her teammates knew they could always count on her to give her all. While that can be intimidating to some, it also inspires others to give their best too and that’s something you want to see spread on a team. Speed and strength at the end of races is a trademark for Juliana and it allows her to always be in the mix. She really put it all together and the exciting part is that she was only a junior.”

Previous winners:

2016 Mary Cronin (lacrosse)

2015 Laurine German (softball)

2014 Shannon Conley (track)

2013 Danica Gleason (softball)

2012 Erin Bogdanovich (softball)

2011 Alexis Bogdanovich (softball)

2010 Katlin Norton (softball)

2009 Danielle DiBiase (softball)

2008 Julie DiMatteo (softball)

2007 Christina Aceto (softball)

2006 Kristin Kill (softball)

2005 Krystal Shannon (softball)

2004 Lindsay Coit (lacrosse)

2003 Nichole Cousins (softball)

2002 Morgan O’Donnell (softball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached atmhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.