While the spring usually means small numbers for the Cape Elizabeth outdoor track program, the winter has brought a glut of athletes to its indoor track program. Cape Coach Doug Worthley said this year’s coed indoor track program has 72 athletes, a considerable number compared to the spring, which typically draws 30 to 40.

“It’s not an all-time high, but it’s pretty close,” Worthley said of the indoor team numbers.

Last weekend, the girls’ team finished third in the junior division, sixth in the senior division and second in the open division in a seven-team Western Maine Conference meet at the University of Southern Maine, while the boys finished fourth in the junior division, fourth in the senior division and fourth in the open division.

The breakdown in divisions, Worthley explained, gives younger athletes a chance to score points at the varsity level while competing against athletes of a similar caliber.

“If kids didn’t have a chance to score points, they may not stay on a team,” Worthley said.

“You give kids a chance to be successful because there’s a big difference between a freshman and a senior. Being a 14-year-old competing in the shot put isn’t the same as competing as an 18-year-old in the shot put.”

The breakdown in divisions benefits the Capers.

“As the team goes, of the 70 or so kids, 45 kids are competing in the junior division,” Worthley said. “They’re full.”

Competing at different levels also helps in the development of Cape’s athletes.

“A lot of the kids who compete there may not qualify for states this year, but they need to be hungry for next year,” Worthley said. “But at the same time, you have to keep it challenging for the elite runners on your team.”

With that in mind, Worthley has set a goal for this year’s indoor track program.

“My goal is to get as many boys in the state meet as possible,” he said, “and to get the girls in the top six in the state.”

 

ONE OF the state’s top girls’ distance runners isn’t from one of the traditional track hotbeds. Instead, Kendra Lobley runs at Poland, and she has developed into one of Class B’s indoor track standouts this season.

Lobley, a senior, holds the state’s top time of 5 minutes, 18.67 seconds in the mile run, set Friday at a Western Maine Conference meet at the University of Southern Maine.

Lobley won three events: the mile, the open 800 (2:28.73) and the open 2-mile (12:55.32). She helped Poland finish second in the five-team girls’ open division. Poland scored 54 points, three behind first-place York.

Kristin Ross, Poland’s first-year indoor track coach, credits Lobley’s level of commitment to the discipline of distance running as a key to her success this season.

“She’s bought into the program that I give to the distance runners,” Ross said. “She’s very serious about it and running is something she wants to do in college.

“She does core work, agility work, weight training and when there’s a snow day, she’ll still do whatever workout we were supposed to do and her focus is what’s keeping her going and keeping her moving forward.”

Ross explained Lobley is also a leader for the Knights, who have 55 athletes out for indoor track this season.

While Lobley is one of only nine distance runners for the Knights, Ross credits her patience, her ability to communicate with her peers and her ability to create enthusiasm among her teammates as vital to the program’s growth.

“This is something she cares a lot about,” Ross said. “She makes that attitude infectious.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]