December 31, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD NOTEBOOK: Website providesloads of info

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Few, if any, high school sports in Maine have as much information online as track and field and cross country. The website http://me.milesplit.com is pretty much a one-stop source for information on the current season.

Derek Veilleux, who coaches Cape Elizabeth in cross country and the Scarborough boys in indoor and outdoor track, is the site's webmaster. The site has been up since the fall of 2008, and Veilleux estimates he puts in about 30 to 40 hours per week posting the information on the site.

"I've got a regular full-time job, and then I coach in the afternoon," Veilleux said. "This is done late at night and early in the morning."

Veilleux also fills his Twitter account (@MaineTrackXC) with updates, links, and other information. On Sunday, he posted a link to Waterville's Bethanie Brown running the mile in under 5 minutes to set the University of Southern Maine Relays record on Saturday.

Veilluex said he has a network of good photographers, and at a meet, he might find an injured athlete and ask him or her to shoot video. He also has three or four athletes per season write regular blogs. Lawrence's Erzsebet Nagy wrote one during cross country season, and former Maranacook star Abby Mace also wrote for Veilleux's site. Veilleux said Mace now writes for her school paper at the University of Connecticut.

"It's surprising how many kids want to write," Veilleux said. "I put the message out on Facebook, and I get responses within minutes."

You can also find meet schedules, meet recaps, and individual rankings by state and conference. In the pole vault, Cony senior Lindsay Folsom doesn't just have the best performance in the state this season at 11 feet, 4 inches, she's the only girl in the state to clear 10 feet. (Waterville's Devin Burgess is the top male pole vaulter in the state, at 13-6.)

"The feedback's been pretty amazing," Veilleux said. "It's grown a lot since last season. The kids love it. Last May, I got almost three-quarters of a million page views in one month, which is pretty amazing."

* * *

Speaking of websites, Lawrence has a pretty good one for its boys and girls track and field teams at https://sites.google.com/a/msad49.org/lawrence-track-field/team-information.

The Lawrence site goes beyond meet results (taken from http://www.sub5.com, another great source of information). For both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and state meets, there are three lists of qualifiers: Provisional, Automatic, and "THOSE WHO ARE SUPER CLOSE."

Sasha Letourneau has qualified for states in both the 55-meter dash and the 200. Katie Dudley has qualified for states in the 55 hurdles, and Marissa Paquette earned a spot in the 800. Briannah Bickford can qualify for states by cutting 0.25 seconds off her time in the 55 hurdles, and Crystal Crowell needs a throw of two more inches to qualify in the shot put.

For the Lawrence boys, Jake Doolan has earned a spot at states in both the 55 and 200, while Jeremy Frantz has qualified in the shot put. Dakota White is closing in on qualifying in both the 55 (0.17 seconds away) and the 200 (0.35 seconds).

There's also an interesting page on athletes' attempts to break school records this season. Dudley has already surpassed her own school record in the 55 hurdles, and several other athletes are close to Lawrence's all-time marks.

* * *

Maine Central Institute has 15 girls and 10 boys out for indoor track and field after not fielding a team last season. Jessica Cardenas, who coaches the MCI cross country team, is the Huskies' coach, and said she'd like to increase that total of 25 athletes in future years.

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