Penquis track standout making the most of her opportunities, even at a school without a track
MILO — Cymeria Robshaw is one of those high school kids who makes the most of every opportunity she is presented.
And when such opportunities aren’t readily apparent, she seeks them out.
It wasn’t enough for the Penquis Valley High School senior to take five high school classes and three college-level courses online this winter while serving as Key Club president and on the Student Council.
Already a state championship-level jumper and sprinter in outdoor track — at a school that doesn’t have a track — she wanted to enhance those skills by participating in indoor track, even though Penquis doesn’t have an indoor track team.
With help from her own coaches, Penquis athletic administrator Jason Mills and officials and coaches at Old Town High School, Robshaw became a one-person indoor track team for Penquis. She made the 80-minute round trip after school each weeknight to train with the Old Town team.
At the Class B indoor state meet, Robshaw won the triple jump and 55-meter dash and placed second in the long jump. Last weekend, the Patriots’ dynamo finished second in the long jump at the New England championships in Boston.
Robshaw’s performance qualified her for the outdoor national championships in June, but her immediate thought was how it might affect others.
“Qualifying for nationals was definitely a big thing for my school,” she said. “Hopefully it opens doors to other people who are starting track at my school and lets them know there’s lots more to track than states.”
Robshaw, the third youngest of eight children, volunteers at an animal shelter, has helped organize a program to provide summer meals for youngsters in her community and actively is at work recruiting students at her school — including younger brother Alvin — to join the outdoor track team this spring.
“When she was commuting to Old Town this winter I really didn’t know how she did it all and I honestly don’t know how she held it together as well as she did,” said Katie Joyner-Robertson, a 13-year teacher at Penquis who has Robshaw in her honors anatomy/physiology class.
“She was certainly experiencing adult-level stress but was able to take it in stride, and on top of everything else I admired her ability to juggle and keep everything straight.”
Robshaw’s winter schedule often meant late evenings of homework after getting home from track practice.
“I typically got home at 7 or 8 o’clock and I’d be doing six to seven classes worth of homework in four or five hours of time,” she said. “I was definitely under a lot of pressure during indoor track season and I was proud of myself for managing my time well to get through without losing my academic standing.”
Robshaw’s work has been rewarded. She recently accepted a partial scholarship to continue her track and field career at Division II Stonehill College in Massachusetts, where she plans to study biology with the goal of becoming an orthodontist.
“I’ve always loved the thought of having perfect teeth and growing up braces are crazy expensive,” Robshaw said. “I hope someday to be able to give people the opportunity to get braces who maybe can’t afford them.
“And [orthodontist]) make a lot of money, too.”
Robshaw initially focused on soccer and softball at Penquis, but encouragement by a former math teacher, the late David Caivano, steered her toward outdoor track for the first time during her sophomore year.
She didn’t want to give up softball and decided to do both sports.
“It was then I realized this was where I belonged and this is what could get me really far in life,” she said.
Robshaw lacked both experience and track resources at her school. Most of her long jump work came on mats in the gym, or an occasional workout on the track at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.
The 5-foot-4-inch Robshaw placed second at the 2017 Class C state meet in the 100 dash (13.09) and was fourth in the long jump (14-11.5).
“At the end of the season, when it was clear she definitely had a lot of potential, we mentioned to her, ‘Cymeria, next year you might just want to focus on track,’” said Penquis track coach Lucas Grinnell.
It was good advice.
Last spring, Robshaw won both the long jump (17-7.75) and triple jump (34-10.5) at the Class C outdoor state meet and finished third in the 100 (13.17).
That led to Robshaw’s decision to pursue the indoor season, and her improvement this winter was pronounced.
At the Feb. 18 state meet in Lewiston, she set personal bests while winning the triple jump (36-1.75) and placing second in the long jump (18-3.75), one inch behind Orono standout Camille Kohtala.
Robshaw also won the 55-meter dash, an event she had never attempted until starting indoor track workouts, in 7.33 seconds.
That led her to the New Englands, where she established another personal best (18-8.25) while trailing only Connecticut sophomore Tess Stapleton (19-1.5). Kohtala was fifth at 18-3.
“Camille has definitely given me the push to do better,” Robshaw said. “I don’t consider it a rivalry because in indoor and outdoor track we’re always just trying to do our best, but it’s been really nice having someone to always make sure I’m doing my best.”
Robshaw hopes to build on her improvements made indoors when outdoor track practices start on March 25.
“I was jumping really far behind the board at the New Englands,” she said. “My coaches thought most of those jumps were in the 19s if I had hit the board, so I definitely know I have a 19 in there.”
Robshaw also hopes to triple jump between 36 and 37 feet consistently.
“There’s still lots of room for improvement, but I think this outdoor season is going to be one to watch,” Grinnell said.
Then it’s off to Stonehill, which for Robshaw will mean the chance to make the most of new opportunities.
“Honestly, I know I have so much in me,” she said, “but growing up in a small town you’re not really open to as many resources as everyone else so I feel like once I have everything I need, the sky’s the limit.”