Portland’ High School’s indoor track and field coach Deb Rooth said that Owen Delisle has “the heart of a lion.”
Delisle, a 2022 PHS graduate, will now take his lioness heart and relentless running legs to the Fairfield Country to continue his track and cross-country journey.
“I am beyond excited to announce my commitment to further my academic and athletic endeavors at Sacred Heart University next fall,” Delisle posted on social media. “At this time I would like to thank all of my coaches, family, friends, and teammates for helping me throughout this journey. Onto the next chapter!”
During his four years at PHS, Delisle saved his best performances for the biggest stages.
Following top-ten finishes at the cross country Shoreline Conference Championship (SLC) and Class S finals this fall, Delisle ran a personal-best 17.10 in the 5000 meters during the State Open championships during his final high school cross country meet.
In the indoor season in winter, he placed as the runner-up in the 600 meters at the SLC championship and then placed 3rd in the Class S championship. He then posted a personal-best 1:26.27 at the State Open in the same event.
“He is one of these kids that would run until he would drop. I am a big pace person and teach the kids to set paces for the race, but Owen is one of those kids that would never give up. He was great to coach,” said Rooth, who first started coaching Delisle in middle school. “He played a huge role in helping the team. He was always team-first and very supportive of his teammates.”
This spring, Delisle cemented himself in the record books at PHS, teaming with Jake Thompson, Simon Kandeke, and Teddy Williams to shatter the school record in the 4x400 relay (3:30.36) at the outdoor SLC championships. He also finished 2nd in the 400 meters, running a personal-best 52.02, at the same event.
Not a bad resume for someone that only started running full-time a few years ago.
Delisle, a lifelong Boston Celtics fan, started running competitivly in the eighth grade to stay in shape for basketball season. Once entering PHS, he continued to play basketball in the winter, while running cross country in the fall and outdoor track in the spring.
He said that the closeness of the cross-country and outdoor track and field teams made him switch to a three-season running between his sophomore and junior years.
Delisle credited cross-country and outdoor track & field head coach Isha Murphy for providing a positive environment at the high school and said the senior class was very welcoming during his first year at PHS, adding, “I can’t thank them enough. When I was a freshman they made me fall in love with the sport and because of that I stuck with it.”
Becoming a year-round runner proved to be beneficial Delisle earned first-team all-conference as a junior and continued to slash his times over the next two seasons.
The Portland native said he “will miss everything” about the high school and the community, pointing to the camping trips and pasta parties with his running mates as some of his favorite memories.
“The comradery of the team is second to none,” said Delisle. “I love my teammates, I love my coaches. I hope the next level will be like this and I am forever thankful for these memories.”
When he’s not running, Delisle can be found playing or listening to music. He has been playing the drums since the sixth grade and he described himself as “an avid concert goer.”
He’ll join a Pioneers running team that competes in the Northeast Conference (NEC) and are led by Christian Morrison, who has led the program for over a quarter-century.
“I’m looking forward to being somewhere new in the Fairfield area and to meet new people,” said Delisle. “I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin