Busy Leavitt senior excels in academics and athletics

May 11—TURNER — Leavitt Area High School senior Emma Couturier is an expert at carrying a heavy load.

Between rigorous coursework at school, two seasons of track & field and a part-time job, it is hard to imagine the Turner student has time for much else. Early release and late arrival privileges give her some breathing room, but twice a week she balances school, practice and her job at DaVinci's Eatery in Lewiston — all on the same day.

Couturier, for her part, brushes off the praise.

"It's pretty manageable," she said. "I know what I need to do for track, and I know what I need to get done to reach my goals. And I actually was working way more (at the start of track season)."

Finishing most of her homework at school makes it possible for her to work about 15 hours a week and get extra time in the weight room, she said.

Couturier is one of 18 Leavitt students this year graduating summa cum laude, the highest academic distinction. She, however, is not just a great student. She is also one of the school's best athletes.

Coaches say Couturier has talent but stress she has worked hard for her success.

"Emma is an incredibly driven person," said Leavitt track coach Jamie Juntura. "She wants to be excellent ... and is happy and willing to put in all of the work in order to do that, which makes her a phenomenal person to coach."

Often, her performances in sprinting and jumping events have a significant impact on the team's overall success.

Last year at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference outdoor track & field championships, Couturier scored in the top two places for all three jumping events — long jump, triple jump and high jump. Her successes helped propel the team to a close second-place finish. She also holds the school record in the triple jump, which she set the first time she competed in the event her junior year.

"She has to hold a bunch of weight on her shoulder," Juntura said. "That is probably where she's grown the most over the past four years."

But Couturier attributes much of her success to her coaches.

"I don't think there's been coaches that are this hands-on and want every single one of their athletes to succeed," Couturier said. "(It's) a really solid program ... (with) really amazing coaches, and I'm super thankful for them."

Couturier said she is excited to work, train and have fun this summer. Come fall, she is set to begin classes at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, where she plans to major in marketing and compete on the track & field team.

Couturier said she was not even thinking of applying to Plymouth State until she got an application fee waiver by email and decided to visit.

"Choosing to go to Plymouth State is just a little bit different than where everyone's going," she said, adding that the campus, indoor track and weight room were particularly impressive.

Couturier has begun creating a training schedule for the summer, planning when she will lift weights, work on speed, do plyometrics and take breaks.