Vicki Tolton ran her way into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame. She became one of the school’s most decorated athletes setting records and joining the Canadian nation team.                                 Contributed photo

Vicki Tolton ran her way into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame. She became one of the school’s most decorated athletes setting records and joining the Canadian nation team. Contributed photo

Smithers athlete into hall of fame

Vicki Tolton ran her way into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

Once again, from somewhere out of the blue, knowledge of another incredible feat of athletic prowess comes across the sports desk to make us all say “Holy Cow!”

A local athlete who was not even on the recruitment list was picked up by a school in the eastern U.S., made some adjustments in her events and blew by the opposition to be named to a national team and set numerous school records.

Recently, Vicki Tolton was named to the University of Maine Athletics Hall of Fame for her achievements as a track athlete during her five year career at the school.

Tolton was a local track and field athlete at Smithers Secondary School who wasn’t really specializing. She played volleyball and some basketball as well as track and field. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to run or play volleyball in university.

For track and field, she was in the heptathlon, a tough seven discipline event when Rolland Ranson of the University of Maine noticed her on a trip to check out a pole vaulter. Tolton eventually ended up under the coaching expertise of Dave Cusano, the sprint and hurdle coach at Maine. Eventually, her best events became the 400 meter sprint and hurdles.

“Ninety-nine percent of my success I attribute to Dave Cusano. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” said Tolton, now living in Penticton.

As a nursing major, she had a challenging course of study that many do not have the discipline and drive to complete even without the additional difficulties that training at a high level for sports bring

Over the course of her University of Maine career, she set numerous school records in the 400 meter distance events, most of which still stand.

Some might say that it doesn’t mean much. Just some small school records. Not quite. In 2010, she was named the outstanding female athlete at the America East outdoor track and field championship meet.

“That was a big one for sure,” said Tolton. “I ran in three four-hundreds about an hour apart each day, and won them all.”

Her accomplishments in competition were not the only place where she showed what outstanding really means. She had a series of achilles tendon injuries that would have stopped most, but she found a way to keep going.

She altered her training program in order to maintain her fitness and, according to Cusano, “made no excuses.” Her determination made a lasting impression on him.

Following her graduation, she was training with the Canadian national team in hopes of making the 2012 and 2016 Olympic squads when another injury cut short her competitive career.

Her life now includes a husband, James Brown, and a pair of young children. She might not be doing the mileage she once did but she is certainly active with CrossFit workouts five days a week as well as working as a nurse.

^sports@interior-news.com

We are experiencing technical difficulties with our commenting platform and hope to be up and running again soon. In the meantime, you can still send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, or submit a letter to the editor.