PLAYOFFS: ‘Nickel’ Desantis Hits 100 Goal Mark In Belmont Girls’ Play-In Win; Belmont Boys’ Tennis Sweep In First Rounder; Girls’ Tennis Exits

Photo: Belmont High attack junior Tess (the Nickel) Desantis reached 100 career goals against Milford High in the Marauders’ 17-6 victory.

On short notice due to graduation week events, three Belmont High teams found themselves battling the 90 degree-plus Thursday afternoon heat along with the

The Nickel Gets Her Century In Girls Lax Play-In Victory Over Milford

After the Dime (senior Mary Mullan) in Belmont’s Nickel and Dime attack partnership reached 100 career goals against Braintree, the wait began to see if junior Tess Desantis – the Nickel – would join her front line team mate and reach her own century of goals.

Late in Thursday’s dominating 17-6 victory over Milford High School (11-8) in Belmont’s (14-5) MIAA Division 1 play-in game held on the toasty Harris Field turf surface, Desantis took a pass from senior defender co-captain Nina Leveroni and reached triple digits with a bouncer by the goalie for Belmont’s 16th of the day.

Belmont High junior Tess Desantis (#5) scoring her 100 career goal in play-in game vs. Milford.

With both teams under the pressure to accommodate their senior players to attend graduation week events, the game was moved up to the first day tournaments games were to be played. And the game was played at its earliest available time at 4 p.m., with temperatures reaching 92 degrees F with no wind under cloudless skies.

“It was brutal,” said Belmont High Girls’ Lacrosse Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “We were feeling [the heat] by the second half.”

After junior goalie Julia Herlihy stopped a one-on-one on the first offense turn by the Scarlet Hawks, Belmont countered quickly with Desantis scoring from a pass from senior midfield co-captain Stella Lesnik. The Nickel scoring her second from an 8-meter penalty just 40 seconds later and the Marauders were on their way to its first playoff win since 2012.

Desantis and first year mid Niamh Lesnik shared top scoring honors with six points with five goals and an assist each. Junior attack Carli Gaziano contributed three goals and a pair of assists with sophomore attack Charlotte Mayall and first year attack midfield Sydney Mun each with a goal.

“Our leading scorer [Mullan] had one goal but we don’t just rely on one player [scoring]. Everyone stepped up from the senior and juniors to our freshmen,” said O’Brien, who praised the first line defense

Belmont will have just a few days to savor this win as they will travel nearly the entire length of the state to take on perennial powerhouse Longmeadow High (17-3) in a first round match on Monday, June 5. The Marauders will spend more than two hours on the bus to go against a team that has reached the Division 1 final four in every MIAA tournament in the past two decades (last year the Blue Devils were eliminated in the round of 16), finally winning the state title in 2015.

“We will need a lot of breaks on ground balls and on defense. We can’t be put off by the competition. We need to keep the game close so we have a chance at the end of the game,” said O’Brien.

Boys’ Tennis Sweeps Wakefield In First Round; Girls’ Drop 4-1 to CC

Eighth ranked Belmont High Boys’ Tennis began its playoffs with a stellar 5-0 sweep over Middlesex League rival Wakefield on Thursday, May 1 in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 tournament at the overheated Winn Brook courts. Number one singles senior Alek Karagozyan, second singles junior Charlie Osborn, and third sophomore Julian Wong led the team in the victory.

Belmont High’s Charlie Osborn mashing a return at a recent match

Next up for Belmont (12-6) will be hosting Marblehead (9th ranked at 16-3) in the Sweet 16 round on Monday, June 5, at 5 p.m. at Winn Brook. The Magicians swept Oliver Ames, 5-0, on Wednesday.

After missing the tournament last year, Belmont Girls’ Tennis return to the playoffs was a short one as the 17th-ranked Marauders lost to 16th rated Central Catholic, 4-1, at Lawrence High School on June 1.

Girls’ Lucky 13: With Double Digit Wins, Boys, Girls Lax Readies For Playoff Run

Photo: The new record of 13 wins after the Marauders final regular season game.

The 2023 season has seen Belmont High Boys and Girls Lacrosse teams reach new heights having secured playoff berths and prepare for runs in their respective MIAA tournaments.

Girls’ Lucky 13

In its final game of the season on Thursday, May 25, the Girls’ set a program record 13 victories (against 5 losses) after defeating Arlington in a 17-13 slugfest.

The girls broke the previous record of 12 registered in 2011 and 2009. And the Marauders play has been heating up along with the summer weather. In its final 11 games in which they scored 158 goals or just over 14 per game, Belmont’s record was 9-2 with their two losses by single goals.

“We only only go up from here,” said first year Head Coach Dan O’Brien. “We still got a couple games left the season hopefully, because we’re going to make some noise in the tournament.”

“Making the playoffs is great for our seniors. We have ten of them,” he said. “The girls have done such a great job this year.”

The victory against the SpyPonders put a cap on an end-of-the-season five game winning streak. In a game that resembled a playoff contest, Belmont were in a scrap with Arlington with the hosts up 8-5 with seven minutes to play in the first half. It’s then Belmont’s captains on the field brought the Marauders back into the game. Senior midfield Stella Lesnik started the come back with a goal in the 14th minute, followed a minute later when senior attack Mary Mullan buried an eight meter penalty. Senior Layne Doherty took a pass from first-year mid Niamh Lesnik to score in the 17th minute with Mullan putting in her fourth of the half off an isolation with two minutes remaining in the half to tie the game at 9 at the break.

The Marauders showed their offensive prowess scoring four in four minutes early in the second half: Junior attack Carli Gaziano off a penalty, then the Marauders’ “Nickel and Dime” attack combo of Mullan and junior Tess Desantis scoring off the transition and from eight meters as Doherty finished off the goal burst with the Marauders leading 13-9. While the hosts narrowed the margin to two, Belmont’s defense led by junior goalie Julia Herlihy and senior defenders co-captain Nina Leveroni and senior Kiki Hovsepian put a halt to the comeback.

The Marauders are currently 27th in the final MIAA Division 1 Power Rankings. While its position should see them on the road for a first-round playoff match, there are eight to ten teams below the 32nd power ranking position – the tournament cut off – with records at or above .500 which makes them eligible for a play-in game, a match Belmont will host.

“[The squad is] really balanced and that’s what’s been great. It’s never one girl who’s just dominating the whole thing, it’s really been a team effort. And that’s what makes it so fun. And I’m glad we could celebrate and now we’re going to focus on the playoffs,” said O’Brien.

Boys’ Lacrosse

While Belmont High Boys Lacrosse is entering the Division 1 tournament with the offense stalling in the final two games, the squad’s 11-7 record marks a high for wins under the tenure of head coach Josh Streit and was one win away from tying the program’s record for victories with 12 set in 2009. As of Monday, Belmont is 26th in the MIAA Power Rankings, the second year running the Marauders have finished as an automatic qualifier for the playoffs.

“This group has really bought in to the program. They are a special group. They work really hard in the off season,” said Streit, pointing to senior co-captain Peter Grace and Peter Ausrotas in attack, the Pomer brothers, Matt and Mike, Mason Lemach-Bremen and Delan Doherty holding down the midfield. Senior defender Joe Gaziano anchors the long sticks with Joe Hanley and Collin Galloway in front of goalie Nate Moss.

Belmont High’s Lehr Takes 800M And Mile State Titles In Big PRs At Division 2 Championships

Photo: One Win, One To Go: Belmont High Dana Lehr after winning the 800 meters in the D2 championships (Courtesy photo)

Belmont High’s Dana Lehr left the M.I.A.A. Division II Track & Field Championship in Hingham as hot as the weather.

Over two early summer afternoons during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the sophomore smashed personal bests in the 800 meter and mile to take home a pair of state championships while dusting off two outstanding sets of competitors.

On Friday, May 26, Lehr took to the front from the start of the 800 meter finals and held off fellow sophomore Danielle Lomuscio from King Philip Regional by less than 2/10th of a second, breaking the tape in 2 minutes, 15.56 seconds. Lehr came to the meet ranked 10th with a season PR of 2:22.69.

Even more impressive, Lehr’s pre-performance season best in the mile held on Sunday, May 28, was 5:20.36 (although her best indoor mile in 2023 is 5:08.01), only the 13th fastest in the field. But the 16-year-old quickly separated herself from the 12 runners in her heat and simply ran away from the field to finish in 5:00.98, 9.1 second ahead of senior Ava LoVuolo of Marshfield.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that for the past year Lehr has been a team-mate with multi-national high school track champion Ellie Shea at Emerging Elites.

Next up for the member of the Class of ’25 could be the New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track & Field Championship on Saturday, June 10, in Bangor, Maine.

Mullan’s 100th Career Goal Leads Marauders’ Belmont Girls Lax Win Over ‘Ponders [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High’s senior co-captain Mary Mullan (right) and Tess Desantis – the Marauders’ Nickel and Dime attack – after the victory over Arlington in which Mullan scored her 100th career goal.

Belmont High School Senior Co-captain Mary Mullan scored her 100th career goal as the dime in the Marauders’ Nickel and Dime attack pair – Mullan wears number 10, and junior Tess Desantis, number 5 – scored eight of Belmont’s 16 goals in the team’s 16-7 victory against Arlington High School on Friday, May 12.

Marauders upped its record to 7-4 solidifying its hold on a playoff spot with seven game remaining in the season.

“It’s a good accomplishment to have,” said Mullan after the game. “It’s been really special playing with these girls.”

Mullan’s century mark came 10 minutes into the second half as the three-year starter had a hat trick in the first 25 minutes. Mullan tallied her 100 goals in just two-and-a-half seasons as her first year season 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 and the 2021 campaign was cut in half

Belmont Head Coach Dan O’Brien said that on any other night, the game ball would have been handed to junior goalie Julia Herlihy who made 14 saves stifling any attempt by the SpyPonders to get back into the game.

Belmont High’s Julia Herlihy with one of her 14 saves vs. Arlington.

“[Herlihy] was lights out,” said O’Brien. “That’s the type of performance that’s going to carry us forward in the tournament.”

Belmont plays the first game of the annual Lacrosse Night in Belmont, as the Boys’ and Girls’ will host Waltham on Saturday, May 13.

Next Generation Of Baghdady Grapplers Already Winning On The National Stage [VIDEO]

Photo: David Baghdady after winning the Reno Worlds championship

Say the name of certain Belmont families and you immediately associate it with what they do: French and construction; Shea and law enforcement, Muzzioli, landscaping (and hockey); and Flett with development and heavy equipment, to mention just a few.

And while they have become successful in real estate, say the name Baghdady in Belmont, and the image that’s conjured up is of wrestling glory.

When banners were hanging in the Wenner Field House at Belmont High School, an entire corner of the gym was a visual litany of the Baghdady’s prowess on the wrestling mat: league, state and region champions from the 1980s till today. And those honors include a national title won by Samir Baghdady in 1991.

And the family’s legacy continues from father to son as David, Samir’s son, is making a name for himself at the young age of 10. Earlier this month, the Chenery Middle School 5th-grader won the Reno Worlds, a prestigious national tournament, by defeating the number-one ranked wrestler in the country from Pennsylvania in the Under 10 Boys, 85-pound division.

David Baghdady

“I was a little bit nervous but then when I was wrestling I was fine,” said David during a recent interview about his week in Nevada.

The finals, comprised of three 90-second periods, was a tactical affair, with David scoring a two-point takedown in the first period and then gaining a point early in the third to go up 3-0. His opponent – who had won four national tournaments before Reno – earned his lone point as David was called for stalling but never got a chance to score as David had his leg in a hold when the match ended.

“Honestly, it feels awesome,” said David of his victory. “Now, every day, I can walk into my room, and I can see my trophy.” His first-place trophy, including a massive bald eagle statue, caused a stir among Starbucks customers during the interview.

While he is a naturally shy 10-year-old with a happy smile whose favorite subject is maths; on the mat, David will turn most of his opponents into a pretzel in short order. David quickly dispatched his challengers in his four preliminary matches before the Reno finals with pins. So it’s little surprise to learn that David is a four-time Massachusetts and two-time New England winner.

Baghdady began learning freestyle wresting at four and placed second in his first competition at six. His day comprises daily exercises and practice in New Hampshire, Lawrence and Natick. He’s learning to improve his skill set as everyone in his group has the basics down.

“It’s who has more technique, the more toughness and who’s stronger with more speed” who will come out on top, said David.

Compared to the wrestling meccas such as Pennsylvania, any number of Midwest states, and the west coast, Massachusetts is an outlier in the sport, one where there are just not the numbers or expertise especially at the younger age groups. For that reason, Baghdady travels throughout New England and the eastern seaboard to tourneys looking for competition up to his skill level.

David Baghdady in action in Reno

And Baghdady’s talent is in demand, with all-star teams across the country wanting him to wrestle for them in upcoming tournaments. He was recently invited to participate in an elite dual-team meet in Virginia Beach in July after taking part in a large regional competition this month in Rochester. His next goal is to wrestle in the Super32 in North Carolina, “which is one of the toughest in the world.”

Some could see this focus on a sport as blocking out new activities that many of his age first experience in middle school.

But Baghdady, who lives with his parents and four siblings, doesn’t feel that he is missing out with his schedule filled with this activity.

“I honestly don’t care if I miss something for wrestling. I’m not really an instrument or play guy,” he said.

For Samir, if his son is excited and energetic about the sport, “I leave it up to him” whether he continues. “The other day, he said to me, ‘Dad, if I weren’t wrestling, I’d be sitting at home watching TV and playing video games’.”

David points out that wrestling has allowed him to travel throughout the country – David will list off that impressive number on demand – and make friends with fellow grapplers in far-flung places such as Hawaii and Florida.

“It’s been great,” said Baghdady.

A Champions’ Goodbye: Owner Of Belmont’s Iconic Sports Store Retiring After 35 Years

Photo: Gerry Dickhaut, owner of Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center

For the past 35 years, Belmont’s sports universe has revolved around a small elongated storefront smack in the Center. Need your child’s first hockey equipment? How about a lacrosse stick? A bag of Little League baseballs? Swimming goggles? A sweatshirt with “BELMONT” stitched across the chest? Skates sharpened? Tickets for the spring musical? You’ll find it there.

And there you’ll find the proprietor of Champions Sporting Goods on Leonard Street Gerry Dickhaut. And make no mistake, Gerry is the business. He’s taking inventory, finding the correct size soccer cleat, sharpening the skates, stocking the youth team’s uniforms, and sending his teenage employees to Rancs for ice cream.

Gerry has been the most ardent supporter of the Center and its businesses, president of the business association, runs the annual spring Town Day (Champions is the official sponsor of the dunk tank), and knows all the best gossip on Leonard Street.

But as with all good things, Gerry will soon bid a fond “adieu” to his business home for four decades as he’s retiring.

“October 8, 1988. That’s when I opened the doors, 35 years this year. I think I can say I deserve to retire,” said Dickhaut behind the cramped counter in his shop at 53 Leonard St.

“I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been very lucky,” said Dickhaut, interrupting the interview to help a young father pick out socks for his son.

Gerry’s Champions, one of the increasingly rare independent sporting goods outlets in the US, harkens back to when the Center was the town’s business hub with a Filene’s, a supermarket, a specialty fish monger, an Italian market, a florist, and the century-old local bank. To stay afloat and remain profitable – it’s made money since the third year in operation – as small businesses are desimated by large box store and internet sales, three recessions and a devistating pandemic is remarkable.

Gerry Dickhaut, owner of Champions Sporting Goods

“My success has everything to do with the loyality of the people in town and the youth leagues. They come back time and time again. You can’t ask for anything more,” he said.

Besides selling sporting goods, Gerry has offered generations of Belmont High School students and alumni their first job in the store. Melis Demirtas, a highly proficiant kickboxer and high school rugby player, is one of many who lug new shipments here and there and helping customers putting shoes on kindergarteners.

“Gerry, he’s great,” Demirtas said.

Gerry said he was going to retire last year but was convinced by his landlord to “stay just one more year.”

“They gave me a break when I first opened the doors. They took a chance on me,” said Dickhaut.

The rumor that Gerry was ready to move on has been circulating among parents and league officials for a couple of months with many expressing their sadness to Gerry as some considered pooling funds and purchasing the business.

“I’m humbled and flattered that they see me as a [community asset.] And it goes both ways, I appreciate that they are loyal customers,” he said.

Knowing how the residents regard the store, Gerry has been working with a Belmont resident who is “interested” to buy and continue to run the business at its location. The possible buyer is, ironically, a former employee of Amazon – a scurge of small businsses – who has been working in the store to learn the ropes. The interested person is seeking a partner or a manager to run the store as the hours are quite considerable.

Gerry said there are others interested in running the shop, “and they’re all from Belmont.”

As for Gerry, he has some idea what he’ll be doing after he hands the keys over to the next owner.

“I want to go to London. I was there for two days once and it was fabulous. I want to go to Italy and get a real pizza. Then I want to go to Asia especially Bali, that part of the world. And also tour America. There are just so many beautiful spots in the country,” said Dickhaut.

But Gerry said he will be around to help the new owner “if they want me here.” But soon the golf enthusiast will be looking to the south for a place to hang up his clubs.

“I can’t handle the cold weather anymore. Really. It’s depressing, you’re always stuck inside,” said Gerry with an eye on someplace in Florida, around Pheonix or San Diego. A place with a golf course nearby.

Who’s That Tall Runner With Becca? Belmont Well Represented at 127th Boston Marathon

Photo: Belmont’s Becca Pizzi with former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chára with their medals after finishing the 127th B.A.A. Marathon (credit: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Seconds before former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chára crossing the finish line at the 127th running of the BAA Marathon on Monday, he reached down to grab the hand someone town residents know fairly well, Becca Pizzi, to share this special moment.

Turns out that Belmont’s 5’2” marathon champion was a big reason the 6’9″ Bruins legend was able to complete the 26.2 mile race which both would be raising money for the Hoyt Foundation. Being it was Chára’s first attempt at the distance, who better to be partnered with than the two-time winner of the World Marathon Challenge in which Becca ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven consecutive days.

In a twitter message before the race, Boston Marathon’s long time race director Dave McGillivray wrote: [Chára] is READY due in big part to Coach Becca Pizzi and has EARNED THE RIGHT to do this race.”

On Monday, Belmont’s 29 finishers were part of the 30,090 who completed this year’s marathon.

Belmont’s Brian Harvey at the Newton Firehouse.

Five men ran under 3 hours and four women broke 3:45 with Brian Harvey finishing 47th overall while 52-year-old Laurie Nahigian raced to a 3:44:47 finish which was the 367th finisher in her division, while long-time State Sen. Will Brownsberger was 395th in his division with a time of 4:22:54.

RunnerOfficial Time
Brian Harvey2:22:40
Cheng Zhong 2:47:42
Donal Reynolds 2:53:44
Mathew Swanson2:55:53
Tony Luongo2:58:54
Matthew Taylor3:03:31
Jacob Scott3:05:22
Lixin Qin3:05:22
David Marchefka3:05:41
Jeffrey Roth3:13:22
Douglas Hall3:16:16
Sam Belcher3:22:32
Nicholas Gallo 3:28:06
Lisa Engler3:36:22
Becca Pizzi 3:38:23
Xiaomei Zhou3:39:50
Laurie Nahigian3:44:47
Yi Zhang3:48:20
Catherine Wall3:52:37
Michael Ascione3:59:38
Yufei Xu3:59:43
Jenna Vargas 4:11:05
Erin Woodbury4:19:37
Will Brownsberger4:22:54
George Grant4:23:23
Meaghan Murphy4:54:41
Sylvia Limm5:15:42
Rachel Heller 5:15:42
Mandela Toyo5:49:23

32 Belmontians Set To Take On The Boston Marathon Monday

Photo: Brian Harvey (right) in the 2019 Brendan Home Run

A large contingency of Belmont racers, joggers, and charity runners will be toeing the starting line in Hopkinton on Monday morning to take on the 26.2-mile course in the 127th Boston Athletic Association Marathon.

High on the list of Belmontians in this year’s race is Brian Harvey, a two-time US Olympic Trials participant with a personal best of 2:17:40 wearing the impressive low number 59, who will be starting with the elite runners.

Well-known Belmont runners competing on Monday are marathon champion Becca Pizzi and State Sen. Will Brownsberger.

You can check on your favorite runner during and after the marathon by downloading the BAA Mobile App.

24773Ascione, Michael51USA 
2737Belcher, Sam30USA 
21503Brownsberger, William66USA 
20201Engler, Lisa45USA 
3698Gallo, Nicholas31USA 
21720Grant, George61USA 
4396Hall, Douglas45USA 
59Harvey, Brian35USA 
26779Heller, Rachel46USA 
26778Limm, Sylvia45USA 
6598Luongo, Tony51USACAN
6431Marchefka, David39USA 
30800Murphy, Meaghan32USA 
20365Nahigian, Laurie52USA 
2306Pickens, Carson37USA 
13751Pinault, Damien50USA 
13046Pizzi, Becca43USA 
7496Qin, Lixin49USA 
4262Reynolds, Donal46USAIRL
12373Roth, Jeffrey49USA 
10178Scott, Jacob40USA 
4801Swanson, Mathew45USA 
6051Taylor, Matthew45USA 
25625Toyo, Mandela38USANGR
671Vadenais, Evan28USA 
29277Vargas, Jenna31USA 
24837Wall, Catherine42USA 
25599Woodbury, Erin40USA 
27503Xu, Yufei42USACHN
20846Zhang, Yi42USA 
4248Zhong, Cheng41USACHN
20445Zhou, Xiaomei46USA 

Mix Of Vets, Rookies Power Belmont Girl’s Lax To Pair Of Season Opening Wins

Photo: Belmont senior attack Mary Mullan in action last year

A combination of veterans and rookies has provided the Belmont High School Girls’ Lacrosse squad with a winning start to the 2023 season. An opening 15-3 win at home against Stoneham coupled with a hard-fought 12-10 victory vs. undefeated Woburn has new Head Coach O’Brien praising his mix of talent

“We have a strong core of returning players, with 10 seniors, and are really excited about the underclassmen, with a number of sophomores hoping to contribute and four [first-year athletes] who will be contributing in the midfield,” said O’Brien.

A pair of senior captains are pacing Belmont in scoring, led by attack Mary Mullan with seven goals and an assist on two hat tricks over two games. Mid Layne Doherty has hit the back of the net five times, with four goals coming against the then-undefeated Tanners. Junior attacks Carli Gaziano (4 assists) and Tess Desantis (3 assists) are piling up the assists while scoring in both matches.

Joining the seniors making an impact in the scoring column is first-year midfielder Niamh Lesnik who has garnered two hat tricks in each game. But where Lesnik is making her presence felt is during draws where she controlled 20 of 24, which secured the Marauders’ second win. Sophomores Anna Santos (2 goals)in the midfield and attack Charlotte Mayall (1 goal, 1 assist).

The defensive line of Nina Leveroni, Kiki Hovsepian, Keira Healy, and Cat Gartland played solidly in front of Junior Goalie Julia Herlihy, who made 7 saves and 8 saves respectively.

Belmont will host Watertown on Wednesday, April 12. After Spring break, the Marauders will begin the tough Middlesex League part of their schedule welcoming powerhouse Winchester which has been averaging 17 goals in their five wins.

“Obviously, we are aware of how difficult the Middlesex League is, and especially the teams in the Liberty conference, but we are excited to challenge the likes of Winchester, Lexington, and Reading for the league,” said O’Brien.

Champ Again: Belmont’s Ellie Shea Dominate 2 Mile, 5,000M At National Indoor HS Championships

Photo: Belmont High Junior Ellie Shea breaking the tape (credit Keenan Gray/New Balance Nationals)

On her last big race just a month ago, Belmont High junior Ellie Shea traveled more than 10,000 miles to compete in the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Australia. Her latest major race was this weekend at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Championship in Brighton which is all of four miles from her Belmont home.

And whether its half way around the world or just down the street, Shea was the talk of the event: first running a historic 10th place in the U20 race in the world cross country title run while in Brighton, the 11th grader sparkled winning two national high school indoor track championship titles within 24 hours.

On Friday and Saturday, Shea – wearing her now iconic blue neon sunglasses – destroying talented fields in the 2 mile (Friday) and 5,000 meters (Saturday) by running away from some of the best high school runners in the country. And to top off the weekend, Shea stayed with the top high school miler in the country, sophomore Sadie Engelhardt of California, until the final 200 meters to finish third in the mile with a 4 minute, 40:76 second, finishing the meet as the only runner to win three individual medals at this invitational. [See the video of the race here]

In the 2 mile on Friday, Shea was off and running going clear of the others after one 200 meter lap and just increased the distance from the pack to win in 9 minutes, 49.82 seconds, more than 3/4 of a lap ahead of runner up Hanne Thomsen of California in 10:07.06. Her time was within shouting distance of the all-time US high school record (9:38.68) set by Mary Cain in Boston 10 years ago. [You can view the race here]

“My plan was not to necessarily go after [records],” said Shea in an interview after the race. “I just wanted to run a consistent pace and a consistent effort and test my fitness and have fun.”

But it was Saturday afternoon’s 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) where Shea, the defending champion, showed a dominance that’s rare in the era. Running 37 second laps to the others over 40 seconds, the race was essentially over after the second lap. From then on, Shea was running a solo race, clicking off 37/38 second laps, lapping the field twice before speeding up in the final two to break the tap in 15:46.28, [the race is here] breaking her own meet record and finishing nearly a minute ahead of second place Jolena Quarto in 16:43.18.

In her three events, Shea set personal best times. She is the leading US high school runner in the 3,000 meters, 2 mile and 5,000 meters.

Shea stated in an interview how she is able to transition from a world class cross country performance in the Australian outback to hammering a total of 6.1 miles over three days on an indoor track all within one month.

“I just trust in my training,” said Shea. “I know my training is going to set me up for whatever race I decide to do, whether it be on the track or the cross country course and however long it may be. So as long as I trust in my training, I know I’m prepared. So I was confident that I would be able to switch back to track quickly after traveling halfway around the world.”