Throughout this semester, the Bowdoin Orient Sports Section will highlight outstanding individual performances by Bowdoin athletes every week. All athletes are eligible to receive this distinction, and the Orient aims to include athletes from as many teams as possible by the end of the year.
At the Women’s Maine State Championship this past weekend, Lydia Pitts ’22 added another chapter to her storied track and field career. Helping lead her team to a third-place finish in the meet, Pitts won the 60-meter hurdles (8.89), the long jump (5.48 meters) and the triple jump (12.19 meters).
As the top scorer in the meet, she was awarded the George Towle Award. Nationally, Pitts’ triple jump distance ranks second in Division III, while her preliminary time of 8.87 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles pushes her into the top-five at the national level.
Pitts’ track journey began in middle school. Looking for an alternative to lacrosse and softball, she joined her school’s track team on a whim. On her first day of practice, the team was introduced to various events, and hurdles immediately clicked with her. In high school, Pitts added jumping to her repertoire as she dominated her competition in Vermont. When the chance came to continue her athletic career in college, there was never a doubt for Pitts.
“I know moving my body is something that makes me happy, and I wanted a team environment,” Pitts said. “I love all the people I’ve done track with and I wanted to find that [atmosphere] in college.”
Pitts had a strong first two seasons at the College—she was named an All-NESCAC athlete in the triple jump in 2019, and has taken her results to another level this season. She attributes a large component of her success to the team’s focus on progress-oriented goals.
“We think about what we need to do in order to be successful in our outcomes,” Pitts said. “I was really intentional about that during the [Maine State Championship] meet.”
Another component of Pitts’ success this year was her ability to maintain a training schedule while the team separated amid the pandemic. As a member of Residential Life, Pitts was on campus last year while many others remained at home.
“I was able to continue my training with some peers on campus,” Pitts said. “Just being consistent was all I could do to prepare for the season.”
Pitts also emphasized the impact of her teammates’ support
“During my triple jump, the whole team came over to the pit and cheered me on,” Pitts said. “I can have all the progress goals I want, but the little extra boost in my triple jump was definitely a result of my teammates being there for me at the end of the runway.”
With the Maine State Championship in the rearview mirror, Pitts and the rest of the women’s track and field team have big aspirations for the rest of the season. The team has received national recognition, as it was ranked as high as 17th in Division III earlier this year, but Pitts’ biggest goal is to stay grounded and enjoy the journey.
“I definitely compete better when I’m relaxed and having fun,” Pitts said. “So it’s a big goal of mine to continuously remind myself why I love track and field.”
Pitts and the rest of the women’s track and field team return to action at the Boston University Valentine’s Invitational on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11.