Hello, Florida! A Virginian is making the trip down I-95 to take on the challenge of trying to cover one of the largest, diverse, and most talented states when it comes to high school track & field and cross country.
I will not pretend that I instantly will know all the nuances, athletes, schools, coaches, teams, officials, and timers throughout the state as a transplant to your great state. But, I am a quick learner, hard worker, and dedicated to making up ground fast as I was known for my final last lap kicks back in high school. I'm certain after the second, third, and fourth meet or path that we cross, I will become very familiar with each facet of the Florida high school community.
A bit of background on myself. I've been covering this sport since I was a sophomore in high school back in 2000 when I created MileStat.com for the community in Virginia. I was a runner myself in high school and college juggling the responsibility of my own academics and athletics while spending late nights typing up results and writing articles as well from time to time covering meets myself even at events I was racing in during the same meet itself.
My hobby site created out of my love for the sport became a full-time gig by end of 2005 when I ended up dropping out of college because flrunners.com founder Jason Byrne had created such a great platform here on the MileSplit Network to allow me to grow the website over the first five years. With the subscription-based model, I could monetize it in a way that instead of delivering pizzas on the weekend I could instead go to as many cross country and track meets as my heart desired.
I left Virginia for two years back in 2013 to help grow our national site to a level of prominence in coverage and respect that it now far exceeds and enjoys today. During that time, I covered meets all over the country including one spring a meet in Alaska and a meet in Florida during the same season. Going to new places, meets and tracks is nothing new for me. I welcome this next chapter, opportunity, and challenge in my career covering the sport that I love.
I came back to the East Coast and home to Virginia after my work was done helping with the transition and merge of MileSplit into the parent company of FloSports, while taking on more behind the scenes roles managing our inactive states as well as heading up the production of our live events as a coordinator and often producing streams myself locally and nationally. I also helped build up another state in Maryland to go from a non-existent MileSplit site to a very active and quality one in terms of meet coverage and content.
Taking over flrunners.com quite frankly might be one of the easier role changes and transitions I've made among the many hats I have worn for MileSplit with the great foundation already built by site creator Jason Byrne and site editor predecessors Todd Grasley and Adair Lyden Holmer. They have built so many great relationships, covered countless events, created incredible content, and elevated the flrunners.com brand to be synonymous as the go-to online source for all things Florida high school running.
Some things that you want to know about me as my style in how I will cover the sport and manage this website...
Relationships. This is very important to me. If you do not have them, you cannot go far in covering this sport and the access needed to do it right. I will make every effort to gain and develop as many relationships with the coaches, athletes, parents, officials, timers, and FHSAA on a professional and personal level. I want to get to know all of you and get a feel and lay of the land per se.
Regardless of what your prior views or interactions with flrunners.com or MileSplit.com as a whole in the past, I will work hard to gain your respect and trust in covering and promoting the sport at all levels. Give me a clean slate to make you a fan. Do not have to always like me or agree with everything I do or content I create, but I will earn your respect with the way and manner that I work hard to cover this state in a fair and thorough way.
Database Integrity & Information Hub. Our site is nothing if the rankings are not correct or updated and times/marks are missing from the athlete's profiles. If you see something missing or wrong please let me know and I will do my best to rectify and update as soon as possible. I'll take ownership of this essential area of the site.
I also want to make sure the website is an information hub for all things related to the sport. Meet directors feel free to post or send me the meet information that you would like to have posted including time schedules and heat sheets/performance lists leading up to the event. Beyond all the exciting coverage and content that we provide, we need to take care of the basics and be an information hub for the audience first.
Highlighting and publishing results will also take a priority for me.
Live Streaming. This is my wheelhouse and has become my specialty over the last handful of years streaming and producing many events across the country on an often weekly basis. I want to live stream as many events as possible and increase the level of production to magnify and heavily promote the events which allow the access to do such a top-tier level of coverage. Especially in times of Covid with sometimes spectator restrictions or concerns at events, this can help alleviate the event numbers worry by offering the streaming option. When events are streamed, they are given a bigger platform beyond the local scale as others statewide and nationally can tune in to watch the athletes compete.
If you are interested in having your track meets live-streamed this spring or cross country meets in the fall let me know. Also will be recruiting and training those interested in becoming live stream producers themselves in their local regional markets throughout the state.
Meet Rat. If there is a track going on in some corner of the state every day of the week, I will likely be there. I've done stretches of 15 track meets over an 18-day span, so get ready to see my face at a new location on almost a daily basis when the seasons get busy. I can shoot races from start to finish with no bathroom breaks needed.
Nothing more enjoyable in this line of work than being where the action is at during an actual track meet and interacting and engaging with the community that we are humbled and proud to be serving as media ambassadors.
Two to three meets per week on average can be expected from as well as maintaining and growing our strong core of meet coverage contributors throughout the state.
There is much more that you will notice hopefully in a good way over the course of the first few months on the job in how I cover the sport and manage flrunners.com.
Connect. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns or simply connect at email@example.com. I will hit the ground running soon after settled moving to Florida following the March 6th weekend. I'll be creating content and managing our contributors' coverage until then.