Dedicated captains lead Shelton to unbeaten start

Greta Parkes, Mia Chen and Adriana Franzese captain Shelton's girls track team.

Greta Parkes, Mia Chen and Adriana Franzese captain Shelton's girls track team.

Bill Bloxsom / Hearst Connecticut Media

Shelton girls indoor track coach Jason Kymer has used a balanced lineup to open the season with five victories.

“We have good athletes in every aspect,” he said. “Audrey Kosak has been dominating and breaking school records in her events, which are primarily the jumps, so we are strong there. We can compete in every event.”

Kosak placed fourth in the triple jump (36-02 feet) at the State Open as a sophomore. She was fourth in Class L (34-07.50) and took fifth in the 300-meter hurdles in 48.18 seconds, besting her seed time of 50.94. She tied for eighth in the high jump (4-10).

Aida Ouloul ran the 100-meter hurdles in 16.63 seconds to earn fourth at the state meet. Now a senior, she tied for 14th in the pole vault (7-06).

Mia Chen, Adriana Franzese and Greta Parkes are captains.

“Adriana and Greta are both distance runners, 800, mile, two-mile,” Kymer said. “They are strong in those events and were members of our 4x800 relay. We return three with Mia, so we are putting together a strong relay with sophomore Hannah Andrejczyk. Mia does a little bit of everything. She started as a sprinter. We moved her to distance and is also hurdling for us.

“The big picture for our captains is that are very motivated, dedicated and working hard every day. The have tremendous work ethic and have been doing that the past four years,” he added. “The younger girls see that. They emulate that and fall into line.”

Shelton has 16 seniors.

“This is the largest group I’ve ever seen,” Kymer said. “It is going to be tough next season when they move on. They are good athletes in general and good role models.”

The roster has gone from 60-70 pre-COVID to 45.

“We have a small freshman-sophomore group that came out. They are doing very well. Our numbers are down a bit. There are athletes on the fence. COVID hasn’t helped us. The kids we have are talented and that is a positive,” Kymer said.

Relays take work to perfect.

“We have a strong 4x100, led by senior Annelyse Sherman and Taylor Ostrosky, a junior who will be an indoor captain next year,” Kymer said. “Sophomore Jahneil Marshall is our third leg of the 4x1 and then sophomore LeAnn Francoise. She is out No. 2 sprinter.”

“In the 4x100 we are practicing exchanges every day. It happens so quick because they are coming at full speed. There has got to be some chemistry there. With the 4x4 and 4x8 there is a less technical exchange, but we still work on timing.”

Shelton has a good group of seniors to handle distance events. Ouloul is an excellent hurdler, sprinter, and pole vaulter.

Kymer said: “Susie Porto (junior) has been hitting 9 feet as a pole vaulter. She is also clearing 4 foot 8 inches in the high jump, which is right at the state level. Olivia Marino is a sophomore hurdler and jumper. She qualified for states indoor and just missed it in our last meet in triple jump. Jahneil is right there with Olivia hitting state marks for triple and long jumps.

“We are young in the throwing events,” he added. “We have a new coach in Nick Grosso, and he is working with a couple of freshman and new upperclassmen. We have high hopes for them.

“Gary Schmedlin is our jump master technician, and also works with hurdlers,” Kymer said. “Gary was here, took the head coaching job at St. Joe’s, retired and this is his third season back with us.”

Shelton has wins over Hamden, Career, Guilford, and Lyman Hall. It meets Daniel Hand in a dual meet before the O’Grady Relays in Danbury on Saturday.

“Our biggest battle I think will be with Cheshire,” Kymer said. “It was back and forth with them in the indoor season. I think we are evenly matched.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354