SHELTON >> The Shelton boys track team is full of realists. The Gaels know they don’t have a roster full of all-state athletes.
But what they do have, as a few of the seniors will say, is a brotherhood.
“We don’t have the depth or the standouts that are going to win states or SCC individual titles, but we have a team where everyone is stepping up and doing their part to get those little one, two points that will add up to victories,” senior co-captain Austin Kothary said.
It’s a bond the Gaels hope will carry them to their first Southern Connecticut Conference title Tuesday at Sheehan at 1 p.m.
“It’s a group that really has bought into the team concept,” Shelton coach Michael Gambardella said. “The camaraderie is good, and we have some good athletes.”
The Gaels have relied on points from just about every area this spring, as Gambardella mentioned Tyler Hansen (sprints), Wadson Petithomme (long jump/high jump), Chris Carew (throws) and co-captain Joe Edelstein (distance).
“As a hurdler I can speak for my group,” senior co-captain Wesley Kocurek said. “We don’t win everything, but we’re producing four state-qualifying hurdlers. Not a lot of schools can say that.”
Added Edelstein: “This is the hardest-working team I’ve been on.”
Shelton put together an impressive regular season, losing only to Amity in a meet that came down to a few events. Shelton will be up against a handful of talented teams Tuesday, including SCC Eastern Sectional champion Hillhouse, Amity and Western champ Hamden.
Kothary said the loss to Amity was a heartbreaker, but the team took away the positives heading into SCCs.
“Anything can happen when it comes to the postseason,” Kocurek said.
On the girls’ side, the Gaelettes have been just as successful as the Gaels and are vying for their first SCC crown as well. After a tremendous indoor season, they haven’t lost a beat in the spring and claimed their first Housatonic Division title since 2008.
“It’s a pleasant surprise that we were that strong in indoor and came back even stronger in outdoor and got the Housatonic title,” senior Samantha Hartmayer said. “It’s so nice to help lead a team to that.”
Similar to the boys, it’s been a team effort that has propelled the Gaelettes to success.
“We have a great group of girls and they all have their own responsibility on the team,” Shelton coach Jason Kymer said. “They’ve been working really hard to get better at their events.”
Led by Hartmayer in the relays and longer sprints, the Gaelettes have received consistent points from Laurel Bailey (pole vault, hurdles), Samantha Stevens (throws), Nadia Wilson (sprints), Kayla Sekelsky (hurdles) and a handful of others.
“When you’re running on the track, you don’t know the points coming from the throws and jumps so it’s nice that we have a good amount of people from each one to contribute,” Hartmayer said.
Shelton will be challenged by Western champion Mercy and two-time defending SCC champ Amity, as well as Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross.
While Kymer said they’ve been taking it one meet at a time, the thoughts of winning a conference title are very much on their minds.
“We’re going to go for it and put everything we have into it,” he said.