PORTLAND – Edie Pallozzi of Deering showed her potential in track while she was a freshman soccer standout who impressed Coach Kevin Olson during the team’s 2-mile run.

“Edie ran the first mile in 7 minutes and 20 seconds and came back in 6 minutes (for the second mile),” said Olson, an assistant coach with the girls’ indoor track team.

“She was always at the head of the pack in all our runs. I knew we had someone special in track.”

Pallozzi, 15, has lived up to the potential her coach noticed back in late August. Pallozzi has competed in two of the team’s three meets at the Portland Expo. She missed the opening meet because of the flu, but ran a 5:32.70 in the mile the following week. That’s the best time in Class A in the state. Others are noticing her as well.

“I think she has a lot of potential,” said George Mendros, the boys’ track coach at Thornton Academy. “I think she’s super. She had an excellent meet last week.”

Two meets do not make a track season, but if performance over that time is an indicator, then Pallozzi has plenty of talent. Her times should only improve as she refines her running technique.

“Edie is still learning pacing,” said Kevin Campbell, the Rams’ head coach. “She is so versatile and an unbelievable athlete.

“Plus, she’s a great kid and a straight-A student. She’s bright enough to learn anything we want to teach her.”

Pallozzi ran her mile time after being out of school for a week with the flu. Last week, she ran qualifying times for the state meet in the 2-mile (12:27.5) and the 800 (2:39.0).

With the mile, that makes her qualified for the three distance events at the state meet. She likely won’t run all three because of the difficulty and her age.

Campbell and Olson, who coaches the distance runners, plan to bring Pallozzi along gradually. They know what they have and there’s no sense pushing her too soon.

“We knew Edie was a gifted runner,” said Olson. “She set a record in junior high in the 1,000. We just didn’t know she would be this good, this early.

“She has good running form. There’s no wasted movement and it looks effortless. Her work ethic is right up there.”

Pallozzi is a premier soccer player who plays for the Portland Phoenix. She played defense for Deering last fall and is one of several talented underclassmen on Olson’s team.

“Soccer is my favorite sport and track is my second,” said Pallozzi.

“Track helps me in soccer with endurance. I’m able to run down other players who are fast. I like distance events more than sprints.”

The mile is Pallozzi’s favorite event. She said the 2-mile feels long and the 800 is something she just started running.

As for her strategy in the mile, Pallozzi said: “I just try to stay focused, listen to Mr. Olson because he gives me my time splits and try to meet my goals.”

Olson looks for consistent splits from his runners in the mile. Because Pallozzi was sick the first week of the season, he didn’t know what she was capable of running so he kept her splits on the conservative side. Pallozzi equaled or bettered all the split times Olson set for her, with the fastest being the last one.

“I’ll bump her split times down a little this week,” said Olson.

On Monday, the track team practiced in the Deering hallways. That evening, Pallozzi had premier soccer practice.

After track practice, she went home to finish any homework, had dinner and then it was off to soccer practice.

“I’ve been having two practices for a while so I kind of know how to work my schedule,” she said. “If I have too much homework, I might not go to soccer or I’ll go after I finish my homework.

“Soccer is my thing and I want to play it in college.”

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contracted at 791-6419 or at:

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