Twelve days remain in the indoor track season, and local teams are preparing for the final meets of the winter season – the conference and state meets.

The state meets are scheduled for Feb. 21, Class A at the University of Southern Maine Field House in Gorham and Class B at Bates College in Lewiston.

Four local teams are preparing to defend state championships: the Scarborough girls and Brunswick boys in Class A, and the York girls and Falmouth boys in Class B.

For York, the final days of track season are about continuity.

“You continue to do a lot of the stuff you’ve done since right before the season, but the kids are in much better shape at this point,” said York Coach Ted Hutch, whose indoor team is made up of 90 boys’ and girls’ athletes.

“At the beginning of the season you have Thanksgiving, Christmas break, exams and there are a lot of diversions. But right now you can get a rhythm going in practices.”

Before local teams can think about the state championships, they have to plan for the conference championships scheduled for this weekend.

It’s also the last opportunity high school athletes have to qualify for the state championships.

The Western Maine Conference championships are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at the USM Field House, and the Southwestern/SMAA championships are scheduled for 8 a.m. (girls) and 3:30 p.m. (boys) Saturday at the Portland Expo. The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships are at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

“There’s a lot of good competition at this point,” Hutch said. “Greely in the Western Maine Conference, Waterville at states. You have to come in prepared and hope for the best.”

York is the defending Western Maine Conference girls’ champion, but its only loss this season came Jan. 7 to Greely in a seven-team meet.

Greely is undefeated in Western Maine Conference meets, but preparing for the championship meets isn’t just about physical and psychological progress. There’s also some strategy.

Hutch and his staff, which consists of two math teachers and an engineer, will prepare for the Western Maine Conference meet not only by evaluating talent and versatility, but by crunching numbers to plan for potential scoring outcomes.

“The coaches go through the numbers, doing the math and analyzing the possible outcomes,” Hutch said.

“I put it together based on, ‘What is this kid ready for, or can we use them in two events or four?’ “

Consider that the outcome of the final event, the 800-meter relay, determined last year’s Class A and Class B girls’ championships, and Scarborough, last year’s Class A champion, only captured one event (the 3,200 relay) at the state meet.

“Now is the time when coaches start moving the chess pieces around,” Hutch said.

 

WHILE PRESIDENTS DAY signifies the end of in-state competition in indoor track and field, the state’s top six athletes and finishers in each event will qualify for the New England championships March 4 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in West Roxbury, Mass.

Randi London, a senior at Mt. Ararat, finished fourth last year at the New Englands in the girls’ shot put, and has the state’s best mark (39 feet, 7.5 inches) this season in the event.

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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