Shelton boys fifth at SCC meet, trio earn all-league honors

Will Rodrigues, Luke Pacheco and Jayden Opper stand alongside coach Mike Gambardella after the trio earned second-team All-SCC honors at the league championship meet.

Will Rodrigues, Luke Pacheco and Jayden Opper stand alongside coach Mike Gambardella after the trio earned second-team All-SCC honors at the league championship meet.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

The Shelton boys’ team saw three runners garner all-league honors at the SCC Cross Country Championship meet held at East Shore Park.

Will Rodrigues was 19th in 17:08.5. Luke Pacheco took 22nd with a time of 17:13.2. Jayden Opper finished in 17:17.30 to claim 24th.

“Having three All-SCC runners doesn’t happen every year,” coach Mike Gambardella said. “Our league is very competitive with good teams and top runners. For Will, Luke and Jayden to get in the top 24 is very good.”

The Gaels (147) took fifth. Xavier (52) won the boys’ team title, followed by Hand (73), Guilford (82) and Amity (143).

Senior Jeremy Aprea finished in 18:04.50 to take 40th in the varsity race that featured 119 runners. Junior Harrison Garrett was 42nd (18:10.10), junior Ben DeMartino 49th (18:36.20) and senior Joe Giovannini 81st (19:26.60).

“The kids got better throughout the season. They’ve been working hard,” Gambardella said. “I’ll be losing Will Rodrigues and Jeremy Aprea, our captains. They are two on my top 10. I have a strong junior class. It always comes down to if they do the work. This group has done the work.”

Gambardella praised his captains and seniors for showing the way.

“They talk about why we do what we do. The younger runners, as the season goes on, they start to get it. I’m pleased. All our runners are great kids and motivated to do better.

“This time of year, we are tapering down. The kids are running less miles with not as many workouts. My goal is for them to respond being well rested for the Class LL meet (set for Saturday at Wickham Park).”

Housatonic Division meet

Shelton earlier earned its second straight SCC division title. Gambardella watched during the race. The first group was made up of Amity and Cheshire runners. Shelton ran together in the second group. Would they maintain their pace or fall back?

“They knew what they had to do,” Gambardella said. “We had a strategy going in and they worked it to a tee. Our depth came through on that day. Amity runners took first and third. Cheshire was second and fourth. We took five, six, eight, nine and 10. We won by three points. Our runners, one through 7, are very close and competitive.”

Will Rodrigues was fifth in 17:07.50. Jayden Opper took sixth (17:09), Luke Pacheco eighth (17:23), Jeremy Aprea ninth (17:24) and Harrison Garrett 10th (17:26).

Shelton scored a 38. Amity was at 41, Cheshire 47, Sheehan 116 and Lyman Hall 121.

In 2020, the SCC combined A, B, C and D Division scores to decide the championship.

“We won our (B) division championship and took fifth when they merged the times,” Gambardella said. “This season did same thing, finishing first in our division and fifth overall. The division was tougher this year. It was the old Housatonic with Amity and Cheshire, who are always very good.”

SCC Junior Varsity/Freshmen

Chris Carroll (19:04.4) was 10th, Gabriel Zamani (19:13.70) 13th, Matt Darak (19:21.00) 16th and Joe Vostinak (19:28.90) 26th in the jayvee race.

Joe Ciambriello 20:31.30, Paul Pavliouk 20:35.30, Joe Schiappa 20:49.80, Clay Targowski 21:07.90, Josh Ilano 21:52.10, Jason Loh 22:49.80, Anthony Carlucci 24:45.10 and Jack Gloria 25:48.50 also competed in the jayvee meet.

Alex Van Tine took 30th with a time of 22:26.50 in the freshman race. Sam Kim was 33rd (22:31.10), Prem Shah 41st (23:05.10) and Dominic Golebiowski 54th (24:29.50). Twitter: @blox354