Not so long ago, tracking the area’s high school runners was like biting into Swiss cheese: lots of holes. Results were scattered on team sites. Runners had no way to size up the competition, other than running against them. Feature stories were published in nooks and crannies of mainstream media outlets. Live event coverage was nonexistent. And word of mouth provided the best access to a schedule of events.

The website MoMileSplit filled the gaps in Missouri and then some, making it easy for athletes, fans, and coaches to follow cross country and track.

Shortly after founding Big River Running Company in 2006, Matt Helbig and Ben Rosario started publishing articles, interviews, photos, results, and rankings on the store’s website. As the company grew, so did demand for content on high school running, to the point that Big River couldn’t fill the void. The task transitioned to the Everett family. Twin running phenoms Daniel and David worked with their parents to compile and format results of cross country and track meets around the state.

“They really blew it out and got it down to a science,” Helbig said.

The website caught the attention of the burgeoning MileSplit network, which curated similar sites nationwide. MileSplit bought the site from the Everetts and formed an advertising partnership with FloSports in 2011; the two merged in 2013. Following their Division I running and academic careers, David and Daniel eventually went to work for FloSports.

“When we started, we served a very specific, passionate community,” said David, senior product manager. “It was fulfilling to give the athletes and coaches who care so much for their sport a home and the recognition and respect they deserve. Today, I get to do that for so many groups of passionate fans and athletes across the country.”

MileSplit and FloSports make a habit of hiring former college athletes, including Felicia Banda (pictured above), who competed at Hofstra University in New York and is MileSplit’s marketing coordinator. She could have used a site like MileSplit in high school.

“I was googling a million different questions, trying to research where I wanted to go,” she said. “MileSplit does such a great job of telling runners and their parents, ‘This is where you stand.’ ‘This is what coaches are looking for.’”

MOMileSplit homepage

The home page provides features and limited information on individual runners for free. The Pro membership, geared to runners, coaches, and parents, costs $48 a year and unlocks state and national rankings for individuals and teams; athlete race history and PR (personal record) progression; event results and photos; and much more.

Nerinx Hall track and cross-country coach Gaylerd Quigley said he uses the site’s event results and stats to verify his own team-curated statistics or to quickly look up an athlete’s development.

The Pro membership also provides live coverage and replays of all MileSplit events. (Banda says this feature is popular with parents who can’t make it to every meet.) There are training and technique videos hosted by the likes of Sanya Richards-Ross, 2012 gold medalist in the 400 meters; breaking news, including major recruit signings and state records; and athlete comparisons.

Jonathon Coffman, a four-time all-state team member in cross country and track at Herculaneum High School, used the latter to see how he stacked up against the state’s other elite runners.

“The subscription is definitely worth it,” said Coffman, who will be continuing his running career at Saint Louis University. “My teammates sometimes read a story or checked the photos. But for me, it’s really useful as a way to figure out where you stand, locally and even nationally.”

Jonathon Coffman

Jonathon Coffman.

Coaches and runners can even use the site’s virtual meets feature to “scout” upcoming opponents. Let’s say you’re facing unfamiliar teams in a district meet. MileSplit lets you select the runners for each team, then calculates your team finish based on the top times of each individual.

Because the site lists all meets by date, “MoMileSplit has established itself now as a way to enter meets,” Quigley said.

He has used the site and its predecessors for more than a decade to check team and individual rankings, to see photos of his runners, and to peruse the chat board. He especially likes the conversion calculator, which he uses as a way to show his runners what their 800-yard time translates to in the mile, for example.

“You can do almost everything [on MoMileSplit] now,” Quigley said.

The site offers a month-by-month Pro membership option for $20 and an upgraded annual membership for $150 that provides access to live events from two dozen sports on the entire FloSports network. And it’s growing. As of midsummer, Banda said MileSplit included 34 states — Illinois among them — and planned to expand.

“We preach the sport,” she said, “and give it the attention it deserves.”

Author: Kathleen Nelson is a regular contributor to Terrain Magazine.