Shelton High girls indoor track and field captain Elizabeth Herlihy captured titles in the 55-meter hurdles at the East Sectional, the SCC Championships and the Class LL tournament.
“Elizabeth worked very hard for this,” head coach Mike Barone said. “She had to get her rhythm and timing down. Her practices improved.”
The formula worked at SCCs, as Herlihy took the conference title with an 8.71.
Class LL would prove a tougher field, as underclassmen Tess Stapleton of Fairfield Ludlowe ran a 8.53 in the prelims, .02 faster than Herlihy’s personal best. So when Stapleton dashed out of the blocks to an early lead, Herlihy needed her biggest comeback run of the season. She surged forward by the mid-race point, and pulled neck and neck with Stapleton at the line. Herlihy leaned a bit faster and a bit further and won with a photo finish, coming through at 8.62, less than .01 better than Stapleton.
Herlihy began her final push to the states by recording a personal best and school record of 8.542 at the Yale Classic, where many Gaelettes achieved high marks.
Juniors Emma Wadeka and Jackie Perna ran PRs of 46.52 and 48.4 in the 300.
Senior captain Lauren Pawlowski vaulted a season best 9-06 in the pole vault.
Amanda LoMonte ran a scorching fast 11:29.01 in the 3000-meter run and her teammate Anna Weissenberg ran an 11:34.15, both personal records.
“We were able to outperform our seeds and scoring estimates at both the SCCs and Class LLs,” Barone said. “Because we have six varsity-caliber sprinters, and depth in distance groups, our relays were able to do real well.”
The 4×200 of sophomore Haley Oko, senior Kelly Hurd, junior Emma Wadeka and Herlihy were a major reason for the team’s upside. The group reset their school record for a second-place finish at East Sectionals, and then smashed that number with a 1:48.96 the following week at the SCC championships. The group would finish fourth at LLs and 10th at the Opens.
“Lauren Pawlowski and Jackie Perna started off the 1600-meter portion of the sprint medley relay,” Barone said. “Junior Alexandra Kenealy ran the 400, before Maeve Sheldon’s 800 gave us fourth at Easts (4:48.94) and fifth at SCCs (4:43.03).
“Our two other relays scored as well. The 4×400 of Oko, Hurd, Herlihy and junior anchor Heather Garrett took third with a 4:26.63 at Easts. They improved their time to 4:20.12 and were fourth at SCC’s. Hurd and Garrett had excellent 62-second splits.
“The 4×800 of Sheldon, junior Amanda LoMonte, Kenealy and Garrett ran to a second-place finish at East with a 10:20.67. They crushed that time at SCCs with a 10:08.96 for another silver medal. Both Sheldon (1000) and Garrett (600 & 1000) also qualified for the LLs.”
Shelton distance runners Amanda LoMonte and Anna Weissenberg also enjoyed a fine postseason.
“In the mile and two mile, Amanda finished fourth (four times) at both the East & SCC meets with times of 5:46.66 and 5:39.04, 12:30.04 and 12:19.15,” Barone said.
“Then in the 3200, Weissenberg joined in on the scoring with a sixth at Easts and fifth at SCCs, with times of 12:41.62 and 12:20.19. Both qualified for the LLs.
“Junior Kasidy Quiles qualified for the LLs in both the hurdles and long jump, with fourth-place finishes of 9.46 at Easts and then a 9.10 at SCCs.
“Lauren Pawlowski led the way in field events with a second-place finish at the Sectional and a third at the conference meet with 9-06 vaults.”
Shelton is also known for great shot putters, and this year didn’t disappoint as it qualified seven throwers for the state competition.
“That number is a testament to former coach, Scott Snell, and with how boy’s throwing coach Tony Branca worked with the girls this season,” Barone said. “Juniors Yasmeen Dabiran, Kelsey Radzion and Sarah Ovesny, and sophomores Natalia Wilson and Arianna Malick all qualified for states.
“Yasmeen Dabiran finished third at East Sectionals with a 33-03 and sixth at SCC’s. She will lead the group of underclassmen throwers into an outdoor season that adds two throwing events to the everyday schedule.”
Shelton’s outdoor team is three-time Housatonic Division, three-time East Sectional and two-time defending SCC champions.