2013-02-08 / Sports Spotlight

Senior puts up points for contender

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Alec James, a runner and pole vaulter on the Scarborough boys’ indoor track team, is preparing to compete in the pole vault and the 55-meter hurdles at the Class A State Championship Monday, Feb. 18. He is the defending indoor state champion in the pole vault. (Michael Kelley photo) Alec James, a runner and pole vaulter on the Scarborough boys’ indoor track team, is preparing to compete in the pole vault and the 55-meter hurdles at the Class A State Championship Monday, Feb. 18. He is the defending indoor state champion in the pole vault. (Michael Kelley photo) Track is a sport where consistency matters. In other sports, such as basketball, soccer or football, a team can have a bad quarter, or even half and still win. In baseball and softball, teams can shake off bad innings and still be victorious, but in track, a win is only possible when the entire team puts up their best performance.

Derek Veilleux, head coach of the Scarborough boys’ indoor track team, said one of the team’s most consistent performers, and scorers, is senior Alec James, who will be pole vaulting and running the 55 meter hurdles at the Class A State Championship at the University of Southern Maine Monday, Feb. 18.

“He is one of our most consistent athletes, especially in the pole vault,” Veilleux said. “You can count on a firstplace finish with him every meet. It’s nice going into a meet and knowing you have someone that can win.”

James, who has been running since he was 5 years old, is much more than just a pole vaulter for Scarborough. He has run the 200-meter, 400-meter and 600-yard runs, as well as competing in the pole vault and hurdles.

“He is versatile in the short to mid sprints,” Veilleux said. “He excels at the pole vault, but is also competitive in the 400, 200, 600 and hurdles. You get a pretty reliable performance when he is out there.”

While he has found success in several of the circular races, James said pole vault and hurdles remain his favorite events to take part in.

“I like pole vault and hurdles because they take a lot more form and skill and it takes a lot more practice to get the form,” James said.

Although he has qualified for the state meet in pole vault, hurdles, the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, James said he will only compete in the first two events.

“Often times at the state meet, even though athletes have qualified in events, they don’t compete in all of them because you want to have them focus on excelling in their top events,” Veilluex said.

Pole vaulting is something that runs in James’ family. James, who is the defending Class A indoor track pole vault champion, was introduced to pole vaulting in seventh grade when his older brother, Orin James began pole vaulting in a summer track league. James said he was intrigued and decided to try it out.

Twice a week James and the five other members of the boys track team who pole vault, train in the Wentworth Intermediate School cafeteria with William Bertinet, Scarborough’s pole vaulting coach.

The hard work has paid off. James goes into the state meet with the third best pole vault performance (13 feet 3 inches) in the state. The mark is tops in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association Conference. He has a strong chance of winning the event and defending his title.

James said he expects the team, which has won three Class A titles in the last four years, including the last two, to do well and possibly win the meet.

“I think we have a good chance. It is going to take the whole team. Every point is going to count for states. Last year we won by one point,” James said. “It is going to take a whole team effort, but I think it’s very possible (we can win).”

Veilleux said the team is prepared for the challenge.

“We are prepared to have our best day there. That is what we train for all along,” Veilleux said. “We are just coming off (the SMAA) championship. We have just about everyone performing at a high level.”

There is no doubt his team has worked hard to get to this point.

“We build the kids up all season long and look at regular season meets as an opportunity to work on things and get better before the championship meets,” Veilleux said.

Veilleux said Scarborough and the teams in the SMAA conference, which hold its regular season meets at the University of Southern Maine Field House, have an advantage over the teams that will be traveling to Gorham to compete on the track for the first time this season.

“The kids are really confident,” he said. “They know the runways, the pits and the feel of the track.”

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