A strong start, beginning with a relay race title, got Shelton High off and running on a positive note Southern Connecticut Conference East Sectional Championship at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

“A few injuries hurt us on the boys side mid-meet after a fast start,” said Shelton coach Michael Barone, whose team came in fourth. “But the kids kept fighting and scoring points. I'm proud of the effort.”

Hillhouse of New Haven won with 104. Daniel Hand of Madison was second with 88, Amity of Woodbridge third with 77 and Shelton fourth with 68.5. The Gaels finished well ahead of fifth-place Lyman Hall of Wallingford, which scored 36.

The 4x200 meter relay of Jason Lorent, Camerin Gumbs, Michael Rodia and Martin Kovachev was first in 1:35.35.

“Our meter racers did very well in that race,” Barone said. “Captain Camerin Gumbs just missed the cut for finals in the dash, but ran well in both our winning 4x200 and 4x400 (which placed third).

“Senior Martin Kovachev anchored that winning 4x200 to hold off the other teams and he also ran a season best split in the 4x400.

“Joshua Sacoto ran a PR (personal record) in the 600 and a nice split in the 4x400, and Seniors Tyler Pineau and Samuel Kocurek also scored in the 1000 with PRs.”

Distance standout Robert Dillon won the 1000 by completing the race in 2:38.94.

“We had some really promising days from underclassmen,” Barone said.

Junior Michael Rodia was second in the 55 dash in 6.63 and also ran a fast 23-second 200 meter split in the 4x200 and sprint medley relay.

Lorent, a sophomore, sprinted to fourth in 6.82 in the 55 dash and started off two scoring relays.

Junior Jack Boccino scored in both the high jump (fourth place with a leap of 5-foot-10) and 55 hurdles (sixth in 8.76 seconds).

“Junior Brandon Fulton ran two good 800 meter legs of the SMR and 4x800,” Barone said. “Junior Kyle Figol had a PR in the long jump (18-foot-10, sixth place) and the 400 meter leg of the sprint medley relay.

“Freshman William Rodrigues had a PR in his 800 split in that 4x800, and sophomore Rafael Gomez ran a terrific split to start off our SMR.

“John DeRosa scored in the two mile.”

Sacoto was third in the 600, clocking in at 1:27.81.

Pineau placed fourth in the 1000 in 2:48.70 and Kocurek was sixth in the 1000 with a time of 2:52.88.

DeRosa came in fourth in the 1600 with a time of 10:34.80.

The 4x400 of Lorent, Sacoto, Kovachev and Gumbs got its third-place finish with a time of 3:35.86.

The 4x800, comprising Fulton, Kocurek, Rodrigues and DeRosa, placed third in 8:53.40.

Shelton’s SMR of Gomez, Rodia, Figol and Brandon Fulton came in fourth in 3:54.19.

“The meet was filled with ups and downs,” Barone said. “Our kids work really hard, and we were resilient, finding points throughout the competition. Seniors led our relays to season best times, and underclassmen stepped up and proved themselves ready for varsity competition.”

“We qualified most of the roster into the conference championship meet, our training has turned up another level during the week and a half break between competitions, and there's a lot of points and PRs yet to be had.

“This is a fun group kids. They work extremely hard, and we're proud to lead them into the conference meet, where we believe our performances can continue to improve.”

The SCC championships are schedule for Friday, Feb. 1, also at Floyd Little Athletic Center, beginning at 4 o’clock.