The University of Maine track and field program has announced the commitments of eight incoming student-athletes, including several local athletes who have enjoyed outstanding high school careers.

Joining coach Mark Lech’ s Black Bears in the fall will be Riley Masters and Jennie Lucy of Bangor, Hilary Maxim of Old Town, Megan Nealey of Belfast and Jesse Labreck from Messalonskee in Oakland, along with Shaniqua Burgess of New Haven, Conn., Katherine McGeoghan of Feeding Hills, Mass., and Jillian O’ Brien of Buffalo, N.Y.

Among that group, three are the daughters of former UMaine standout athletes and one is the younger sister of a prominent Black Bear.

Maxim’ s mother, Ann (England) Maxim, and Nealey’ s mother, Jo-Ann (Choiniere) Nealey, both were top-notch distance runners at UMaine. In fact, the two were Black Bear teammates.

Ann Maxim, UMaine’ s director of academic support services for student-athletes, still owns three school indoor records in the 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and mile runs.

Lucy’ s dad, Bob Lucy, was a hard-hitting linebacker at UMaine, while McGeoghan’ s older brother, Phil, is a former star wide receiver for the Bears who is now an assistant coach for the UMaine football team.

Masters won three individual state championships (mile indoors, 1,600 and 3,200 outdoors) in his senior campaign with the Rams and helped lead them to Class A state championships in both indoor and outdoor his junior season.

“I see a lot of untapped potential. He could be one of our fastest runners ever,” said Lech in a press release.

Lucy had a fine career with the Rams, leading their 4×400-meter relay team to a state championship this spring while placing in the 800 meters in both the indoor and outdoor state championships, all coming off knee surgery last fall.

Labreck rewrote the track and field record books this season, setting state records in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the high jump this spring while winning New England championships in both hurdle races.

Lech calls Labreck, who won the state pentathlon title this winter, “one of the best athletes ever to come out of a Maine high school and come to the University of Maine.”

Old Town’ s Maxim won Class B state championships in the mile and 2-mile in the indoor and outdoor track seasons and holds Old Town’ s indoor school record in the mile at 5 minutes, 6.09 seconds.

In addition to those accolades, she’ s won the Walter Hunt Memorial 3,000-meter road race from Brewer to Bangor the last two summers.

Belfast’ s Nealey won the Class B state crown at 800 meters this spring, and has consistently been one of the state’ s top runners during her career with the Lions.

McGeoghan earned runner-up honors in Massachusetts’ Division II Interscholastic Athletic Association indoor championships in the high jump.

O’ Brien was a member of West Seneca High’ s 4×200-meter relay team that broke the Section VI New York state record and was also a member of the school-record-setting 4×100 team.

Burgess was Connecticut’ s 2007 Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She won the 200 meters at the All-State championships while placing second in the 100. She was also the Class L state indoor champion in the 55.

UM’ s Waters gains league honor

Ashley Waters of the University of Maine has been honored as the America East Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Waters, a junior from Amesbury, Mass., had earned the league’ s player of the year award back in May.

Last spring, Waters had a monster season for the Black Bears under former coach Stacy Sullivan. She led America East or tied for the lead in hits (58), home runs (10) and total bases (101) during the regular season and ranked in the top 10 in several other categories, including slugging percentage (3rd, .612), batting average (tie 5th, .352), and runs batted in (5th, 30).

Waters, a communications major, also earned a spot on the NFCA Northeast All-Region second team and was an AE All-Academic pick and an All-District choice by ESPN the Magazine and CoSIDA.

A committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives selected on student-athlete from each America East sport for the conference honor. Each must have been a starter or prominent reserve who maintained a grade point average of 3.20.

The America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards (one man, one woman) will be announced Aug. 14.