It won’t be easy for Shelton High to replicate last year’s success, but the Gaels enter into the campaign with confidence they can at the very least be in contention to be the best yet again. 

“We have enough talent to compete for the division championship and do well as the SCC championships if we stay healthy,” said coach Mike Gambardella, whose team went 10-0 during the regular season, won its division and Southern Connecticut East title, before capturing the program’s first conference championship. 

Shelton placed sixth in the Class LL state championships a year ago. 

Graduates who will be sorely missed include Ed Radzion (two-time state champion in the shot-put), Mike Casinelli (third place at SCC in javelin) and Dave Samedi (firsts place at SCC in long jump). 

They leave big shoes to fill but there is plenty of talent back in the lineup, including a large group of athletes who placed in SCC and state meets. 

Captains are Camerin Gumbs (sprints), Robert Dillon (distance) and Josh Sacoto (mid-distance). 

Rafael Gomez (jumps, sprints), Erik Lorent (sprints), Deven Papadimitriou (hurdles), Tim Santos (throws), Kyle Corby (throws), Zach Prindle (jumps, pole vault), Mike Rodia (sprints), Martin Kovachev (sprints), Tyler Pineau (distance), Matt Richard (distance) and John DeRosa (distance) are other top returnees. 

“We have several athletes that will compete at a high level in the distance and sprinting events,” Gambardella said of the biggest strength of this squad. 

In order to contend, the Gaels will look for emergence of high-level athletes in a few events. 

“We have some inexperience in the hurdles, pole vault and the throwing events this year,” Gambardella said. “We need some improvements in those areas.” 

Amity and Lyman Hall are the favorites with many talented athletes returning. 

In the SCC, Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross, Hamden and Daniel Hand will be very strong. 

“I’m really looking forward to working with an outstanding group of student athletes. The captains have exhibited good leadership and the team is motivated and working hard,” Gambardella said.