Skowhegan Area High School’s Whitney Jones hoped to be on the softball field with her teammates by now, but the recovery from a foot injury is taking the senior shortstop longer than expected.

“I’m still in a walking cast now,” said Jones, who committed to Seton Hall University last fall.

Jones missed all of the basketball season after breaking a bone in her right foot in the preseason. During the Indians’ tryout period, Jones was able to do a little hitting and some stationary drills.

“This week’s been a little different,” said Jones, the 2010 Morning Sentinel Girls Basketball Player of the Year. “It’s a little sore.”

Last season, Jones hit .500 for the Indians, with two home runs and 20 runs batted in. At shortstop, Jones made just one error.

Because of a lack of blood flow to the broken bone, it’s a slow-healing injury. Right now, Jones doesn’t know when she’ll be on the field. She will see her doctor on Friday, and she hopes to get a more firm timeline then.

When she broke the bone in late November, Jones hoped to be out of her walking cast and cleared to play by mid-April.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Jones said.

Skowhegan opens the season on April 20 at Messalonskee.

* * *

No matter how chilly it gets in the late afternoon this time of year, the Mt. View track and field team is glad to be practicing outside. The Mustangs have a new rubberized track this season, replacing the old dirt surface on which the team used to train.

In the past, the Mustangs had to wait until the dirt track completely dried, or else they’d run in mud up to their ankles.

“In years past, we wouldn’t have been out on a track until April vacation,” coach Kevin Petrak said.

In terms of training, the new track means Petrak is spending less time guessing where hurdles should go and where batons need to be handed off, and more time working with his athletes.

“Less management and more coaching, I’d say,” Petrak said.

Eventually, the Mustangs will host Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meets. That won’t happen this spring, as the infield, which also will eventually be the school’s football field, was reseeded in the fall.

Mt. View was scheduled to open the season Thursday, but a meet at Gardiner was canceled due to poor field conditions, Petrak said. The Mustangs hope to go to a meet at Lawrence instead, if that isn’t washed out for rain in the forecast today.

* * *

With 99 boys and girls out for Erskine track this spring, coach Chris Bennett has revamped his practice schedule in an effort to become more efficient. Bennett is one of four coaches and each has a special responsibility. Two go with the jumpers, one with the throwers and one with the distance runners.

“The four of us act as a home room teacher for each of our groups,” Bennett said. “We each get 25 kids; it makes things a lot easier.”

Bennett has even changed the way the team warms up.

“We redesigned the way we warm up and stretch,” he said. “They all need to warm up in different ways.”

Erskine’s first scheduled meet of the season, at Gardiner on Thursday, has been postponed due to a wet infield. The Eagles won’t get any competition until the Waterville Relays on April 21.

The boys should challenge Waterville for supremacy in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. They’re led by distance runner Eben Hodgkins, 400-meter specialist Aaron Taylor and hurdler Zach Lee.

“We have some high expectations, but we’re going to take it one meet at a time,” Bennett said.

Although the girls may not challenge Waterville, Bennett expects them to have the strongest team they’re had in five years.

Last season’s 4×400 relay team, comprised of freshmen, returns intact and they have some new sprinters. Although they were seeded last in qualifying heats, the team finished fifth in the state last year.

“We probably have six or seven girls who can go under a minute, 10 seconds in the 400,” Bennett said.

Staff Writer Gary Hawkins contributed to this report

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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