Shelton High boys track and field coach Mike Gambardella is optimistic for a successful campaign and believes his team can be among the best in the Southern Connecticut Conference one again.
Captains are Eddie Radzion, Dave Samedi and Matt Bean.
Radzion is a standout shot-put and discus competitor, who took home a Class LL state shot-put title last spring.
Samedi primarily participates in the high jump, long jump and hurdling events.
Bean runs sprints and relay events and throws the javelin.
All of the captains should be competitive in SCC and/or state competitions, Gambardella said.
Radzion said hard work and improving technique are keys to getting back to the top.
Robert Dillon, an All State cross country runner, will compete in the mile and two-mile events, “Robert has a good chance to qualify for the New England championships in the two-mile run,” Gambardella said.
Cameron Gumbs is a strong sprinter, who also runs relays.
Josh Sacoto and Zachary Muller are top mid-distance runners.
Nick Andrade is an integral part of the 4×100 and strong in the long jump.
Matt Richard runs the mile and two mile.
Last year, the Gaels captured the Southern Connecticut Conference’s Housatonic Division, came in first in the SCC East Sectional meet, and finished runner-up to Hand of Madison in the conference championships.
Shelton placed sixth in last year’s Class LL state championships and finished 26th in the State Open.
“The goal is to win the SCC Housatonic Division again, which is not going to be easy because Lyman Hall is very good this year. They’re probably the favorite,” Gambardella said. “We should be very competitive at the East Sectional and SCC championships.”
Amity of Woodbridge, Hand of Madison, Hillhouse of New Haven and Hamden should also provide strong competition in the SCC, the coach anticipates.
Another goal is for a top 10 placement in states.
Gambardella said the Gaels stand to be strong in a variety of areas, particularly in throwing and sprinting events.
“If everything falls the right way and we don’t have many injuries and they peak at the right time we can be right there,” he said.
Last year, Shelton’s coach, also a physical education teacher at the school, suffered a knee injury demonstrating during class, and missed a good portion of the track campaign. He’s thrilled to be back to see what the Gaels can do.
“I’m looking forward to watching the team the entire season this year,” Gambardella said.
Assistant coaches Mike Barone and Tony Branca will help lead the way.
“I think I have two of the best on my staff,” Gambardella said.