Jillian Richardson of Edward Little High School is the All-Region Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

After achieving her goal of sweeping the three distance races at the KVAC championship meet, Jillian Richardson looked at her notes from earlier in the season to accomplish her final one: Win a state title.

On Dec. 29 at the University of Southern Maine relays, Richardson felt she had to start quickly in the mile to keep up with Gorham’s Kate Tugman.

The pace of the start was “way too fast,” according to Edward Little distance coach Keith Weatherbie, and even though Richardson won that day, they didn’t want her to get pulled into that sort of race again.

At the state championship meet, Richardson stuck to her plan and it led her to the Class A state title.

Weatherbie knows Richardson, a senior, has always worked hard, but he noticed that this season she became a smarter runner, as well. This helped her become the 2018-19 Sun Journal All-Region Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“Her race strategy has really improved,” Weatherbie said. “She is an awfully hard worker. You can’t get her to rest and she’s improved a lot and become much more intelligent in her running and with what works best for her.”

For the state meet, Richardson and Weatherbie came up with a plan to pace-out the eight laps in order to put Richardson in the bet position at the end.

“One thing I preach is you can’t win in the first quarter but you can lose it,” Weatherbie said. “We decided for her around 75 seconds for the first two laps, it’s only an eighth-mile track so it would be ideal for her. (Other runners) took it out fast and as a result as it came down later in the race. Jillian had a lot more left than she did and she was able to win relatively easily.”

Even with the planning, Richardson still wasn’t sure what her competitors would do.

Jillian Richardson of Edward Little High School is the All-Region Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

“In the mile, I wasn’t really sure if people were going to be taking it out really hard, so I was kind of nervous about that, not knowing if I should stay back or not,” Richardson said.

After the race, Richardson felt uneasy. Her 2-mile race suffered a bit and ended with a third-place finish. A couple days later she learned that she had bronchitis.

She’s feeling great now and is ready for outdoor track. After breaking the KVAC 1-mile indoor record, Richardson has her eyes set on Edward Little’s 1,600-meter (5:08) and 3,200-meter (11:23.90) outdoor marks.

After that, Richardson will be running at Bates College.

“She is going to run there, and she was really excited about it,” Weatherbie said. “I think she will have a great career at Bates.”


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