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Bailey Runs Wildcats' show

June 07, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

Williamsport has had one of the area's most dominant girls track and field teams since John Bailey took over as head coach three years ago.

This spring, the Williamsport girls ran away with the MVAL Antietam Conference, Washington County and Maryland Class 1A West team titles - not that Bailey will accept much of the credit for the success.

"You can't just have a good head coach and have a good team," said Bailey, who spent nearly two decades as an assistant coach at Williamsport. "You have to have a good coaching staff."

For running the whole show so effectively, Bailey has been named The Herald-Mail's 2007 All-Area and All-Washington County Girls Track & Field Coach of the Year.

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"I have the best coaching staff in the state of Maryland. I don't know how you measure that, but they have a lot of experience and diversity and they put forth a lot of time and effort," Bailey said. "Two of my assistant coaches (Mike Taylor and Cindy Mease) have switched jobs so that they could be coaches. That's huge dedication.

"To be honest, I just kind of stand back and let them do their work. Of course, sometimes you have to be the heavy and make the decisions."

His other assistants are Randy Longnecker, Taylor Oliver and Theresa Weaver. Each brings his or her own expertise to the 18-event sport.

"We take a lot of pride that we can score in a lot of events," Bailey said.

The Williamsport girls showcased their talents at the West region meet, qualifying athletes for 16 events at states while scoring 132 points - more than twice the amount of their nearest competitor.

"The region meet was pretty impressive. The kids came to win," said Bailey, who also guided the Williamsport boys team to a second-place region finish. "Everyone seemed to contribute. We had 29 regional champions, boys and girls, including the relays. That shows a lot of depth. It was incredible."

"We talk all year that that's the most important meet of the year, because if they don't do well, they're not going to states," he said.

At states, however, the defending state champion Wildcats finished a disappointing fifth.

"It's hard to explain. Things just didn't work out," Bailey said. "When you get to the state meet, you need to have more of those big-point scorers, and that's where we came up a little short.

"I'm mostly disappointed for the older kids. But, you know, we have a lot of young kids. We'll be back to try to get it next year."

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