BAR HARBOR, Maine — It’s an agonizing, tough process that most high school seniors in Maine are going through this time of year — selecting a college.
For Danielle Hutchins, that tough decision has been reached.
The record-breaking Mount Desert Island high school sprinter, who has turned in consistently strong efforts ever since she stepped on the track as a freshman, will continue her track career at the University of Maine next fall.
Hutchins plans on signing a National Letter of Intent later this month. She also considered the University of Southern Maine and Keene State (N.H.) College.
After visiting the Maine campus and discovering how intimate it was, Hutchins’ decision was made easier.
“I really like the lay of it and I really like [Maine sprinting coach Dave Cusano], he’s funny,” said Hutchins before practice Thursday.
Hutchins owns Penobscot Valley Conference records of 12.55 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 25.97 in the 200, both set in 2007, while she established Eastern Maine Indoor Track League marks of 7.22 in the 55-meter dash, 26.15 in the 200 and 58.26 in the 400 this winter.
She also holds the Class B state indoor record in the 400 at 60.01 seconds.
“I’m planning to make my 400 time go down and [in the] 200,” she said. “I’m planning to make all my times go down this year because I did indoor and I’m pretty sure that’s going to help with outdoor.”
Hutchins will enter her freshman year with no declared major, but wants to pursue either nursing or early education.
She feels it’ll be easier to pick a major after getting her feet wet on the track.
“That’s what I’m planning to do, get used to the track program and all that, competing at [the] Division I [level],” Hutchins said.
To some degree, a burden has been lifted off Hutchins’ shoulders, and now she’ll be able to concentrate on her senior year of spring track and field.
“Yes, because before I was undecided on where to go, all the coaches wanted me to go to each college and I went and visited and it was fun, and I’m like I need to decide on a college that’ll make me happy,” she explained. “I decided that UMaine was a perfect fit.”
Since Hutchins spent some of her early years in Old Town, she’s fairly familiar with the area surrounding the Orono campus.
“I really like the way it feels,” she said.
Hutchins is also close friends with Maine freshman distance runner Hilary Maxim, and she and friend and fellow sprinting star Kira Giroux have talked about possibly becoming roommates should the Brewer speedster also choose to attend Maine.
Hutchins plans to visit the Orono campus again after returning from a spring vacation trip to Costa Rica.
“I was excited and the coach was excited to hear that I was coming [to Maine],” Hutchins said.
Other Maine high school stars who have made their college plans include Whitney Chamberlain and Brad Nakanashi of Scarborough, who will attend Maine and Tufts, respectively, and Kristin Slotnick of Brunswick, who will run for Lehigh University.