Promising talent linking with veteran presence

Sam Klein and Will Rodrigues captain Shelton boys' indoor track team

Sam Klein and Will Rodrigues captain Shelton boys' indoor track team

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

Following a strong showing in its first competition of the season, Shelton boys’ indoor soccer coach Mike Barone pointed to his team’s focus as a starting point.

“I'm proudest of how prepared our boys were. But we cannot teach their heart and how hard they compete. That's all them. That's always them, and I love how hard they work and how hard they race,” he said. “Wherever the numbers wind up, it's very satisfying to see tough workouts at practice turn into big improvements inside Floyd Little.”

Shelton had five individuals and two relays place in the top 10 at the SCC Boys Developmental Meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

“To see so many of our leaders do so well is a great sign. We have a ton of promising youngsters who are going to surge into varsity contention sooner than later as well,” Barone said. “It's a very good mix this year. I'll be honest, after the pandemic where we only had a few freshmen come out, we were worried. But we are seeing all the classes do well for us.”

Sophomore Ethan Oko placed third in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.64 seconds to be the Gaels’ top placer.

“Ethan was jumping around with a huge smile on his face after qualifying for states in the 55 hurdles on his very first run,” Barone said. “To see him PR (personal record) by a full half a second and to watch him skipping from teammate to teammate, hugging them after the race, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Senior captains Sam Klein and Will Rodrigues also impressed.

Barone said: “Sam was fifth in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.86. Will Rodrigues was 11th in the 3200. They're tremendous leaders, and will provide big points. I'm also thrilled with performances by seniors like Joe Savino, who qualified in both jumps.”

Savino’s long jump of 18-08.75 earned him a fourth-place finish. He added a fourth in the high jump at 5-8. Junior Tyler Radzion had a shot put of 38-11.25 to grab eighth. Devin Reid, Oko, Connor Picheco and Klein were seventh in the 4x200 relay with a time of 1:40.94. Junior Ara Papademetriou took eighth in the high jump at 5-4.

“Our distance team has excellent talent with juniors like Luke Pacheco and Aidan O'Grady,” Barone said. “They pushed each other really well in both their races, the 600 and the 3200. I’m very excited about their prospects going forward.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354