OLD TOWN, Maine — When you think of track and field, the first events that probably pop into mind are sprints, hurdles, and jumping. For Old Town High School rising sophomore Izzy Trefts, her specialty is not one of the popular events.
Izzy has been competing as a race walker since she was five years old. The race requires that athletes maintain contact with the ground at all times and keep their legs straight until they're completely under the body. It's a form that may seem awkward, but it's one Izzy has mastered.
"Sometimes it just clicks, and I feel like I can just go forever," said Izzy.
Izzy has been competing nationally since she was 10 years old. That experience has taken her to compete at New Balance Nationals, the Junior Olympics, and now the Maine high school state championships.
At the state championship, she set a new class B state record in the 1600m race walk with a time of 7:26, just :07s shy of the state record set nearly two decades before. She's done it all as just a freshman.
"I think early on I realized there was something there," said Izzy's mother, Dawn Murray.
Murray has been coaching Izzy since the beginning when she started training as a 5-year-old.
"I think it's been a really great experience. It's definitely brought us closer together," said Murray.
At times, like with any coach, the relationship can be difficult.
"Of course, I'm always her mom, but I need her to have that mentality that is to set that aside and know this is what we're working on," said Murray.
"It's harder at times, just because of that mother daughter relationship. It's not always at its best I guess," said Izzy.
Despite when the going gets rough, the two find that their deep connection as a mother and daughter, and as a coach and an athlete, has helped them reach their success.
"She knows how hard she can push me and how much I can take in a workout," said Izzy.
Izzy spends multiple days a week training and competes year round, including in indoor track and cross country. Izzy isn't the only member in her family to have success in race walking, however -- her older sister competed in high school at Old Town, and her younger sisters are preparing to compete in the Junior Olympics.
"I feel very lucky to be able to coach my children in the sport that they love," said Murray.
The family's connection is easy to see. So is their focus and determination. It's helped create a family bond that is nearly unbeatable.
"It's quite the family affair, and I'm happy that we have that to share with each other," said Murray.
On Saturday, Izzy and her younger siblings will be competing in Junior Olympics trial event in Scarborough. If she qualifies, she move on to New York to compete in the regional finals.