Shelton girls cross country finds path to succeed

Anna Hynes, Sofia Gasbarro, Amy Agreda, Emily Vasser, Sara Buglione, Rosie McGrath, Theresa Weissenberg, Kate McPadden, Taylor Ostrosky and Meena Chandir led Shelton at the SCC B Division championship meet.

Anna Hynes, Sofia Gasbarro, Amy Agreda, Emily Vasser, Sara Buglione, Rosie McGrath, Theresa Weissenberg, Kate McPadden, Taylor Ostrosky and Meena Chandir led Shelton at the SCC B Division championship meet.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

Shelton girls’ cross country coach Katelyn Tucker had her doubts about the fall season, but none of her concerns were with her runners.

“We're just really glad that we got to compete this season,” Tucker said. “It's been a challenge for everyone and we're happy that everyone is healthy and safe after such a difficult few months.”

Emily Vasser (24:44) was Shelton’s top runner when the Gaels earned a 4th-place finish at the Southern Connecticut Conference Division B championships held at East Shore Park in New Haven.

Each division held their own race to meet Covid-19 requirements on social distancing and avoiding gathering of large groups. The results were then merged to crown an overall league champion.

Tucker’s Gaels were 14th when team times were merged from the 4 divisions.

“Emily Vasser is a rising star on our team -- this was actually the first season she's competed start to finish without injury. I am so proud of her,” Tucker said of her junior. “I think she's definitely a runner to watch going into her senior year.”

Vasser was followed across the finish line at the 5K (3.1 mile) course by classmate Rose McGrath (25:01), sophomore Meena Chandir (25:08), sophomore Sara Buglione (25:09) and freshman Kate McPadden (25:36).

Senior Amy Agreda ran a 26:40 and junior Sofia Gasbarro a 27:08 to complete Shelton’s top 7. Sophomore Theresa Weissenberg (27:08) and senior Anna Hynes (27:48) also ran well for the Gaels.

Tucker said: “My seniors, Anna Hayes and Amy Agreda, were both incredible student-athletes and did such an amazing job rallying the team throughout the fall.”

Shelton’s runners progressed as the season went along, according to Tucker.

“Emily Vasser and Rosie McGrath had big PRs (personal bests) this season,” she said. “Both of them dropped from running in the 27/26-minute range (for 5K’s) to 24:40 and 24:19, respectively.

“We also had a few newcomers that stood out with Kate McPadden, Elena Salluhi and Meena Chandir. I'm real excited to see what they do next season. And like I said, this is the first season Emily has finished without injury. She's had a real tough time, but she stuck with it which is so important. She'll actually be serving as one of our co-captains next year.”

Team members are senior Amy Agreda, junior Megan Breunig, sophomore Sara Buglione, sophomore Meena Chandir, junior Katherine Daxnerc, junior Rhianna de Andrade, junior Sofia Gasbarro, senior Cathleen Higgins, senior Anna Hayes, freshman Sophia Lubas, sophomore Daria Maggi, junior Rose McGrath, junior Grace McPadden, freshman Kate McPadden, sophomore Taylor Ostrosky, freshman Elena Salluhi, junior Olivia Salluhi, junior Summer Spinelli, freshman Julia Sutcliffe, freshman Sophie Uanino, junior Emily Vasser, sophomore Therea Weissenberg and junior Grace Wong.

Guilford (Division A), Amity (Division B), Sacred Heart Academy (Division C) and Hamden (Division D) won their respective divisions, but it was a familiar overall result as Guilford defended its crown to claim the 2020 league title. It was the fourth straight title for Guilford and 16th overall since the SCC was formed in time for the 1994-95 season.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354