Athletics: Coelho Takes D2 600 meters Crown; Shea Sets National Sophomore Indoor Mile Record

Photo: Belmont High Senior Jackson Coelho (center) on the top step after winning the 600 meter sprint in the MIAA D2 state championships

Belmont High’s running star Jackson Coelho has been putting a number of explanation points onto his senior year. In November, Coelho led the Belmont High harriers to its best placement in a decade at the MIAA cross country championships (7th in Div. 1B) as he finished 6th. Earlier in the month, the captain won the competitive Middlesex League indoor title in the 600 meters.

And on Feb. 20, Coelho became a state champion winning the MIAA Division 2 600 meters at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, hitting the tape in 1 minute, 24.18 seconds defeating prerace favorite Jack Determan of North Andover (1:24.75) and Middlesex League rival Aidan Sheehan from Arlington (1:25.08) who finished in third.

Coelho is not ready to end his indoor career just yet as he will head to the MIAA All-State Championship on Saturday, Feb. 26 where the top runners and field participants in the five divisions will compete.

Belmont’s freshman Dana Lehr (left)

Belmont saw additional outstanding performances Sunday. In the Girls’ kilometer, freshman Dana Lehr took nearly two seconds off her seeded time and finished in 3:09.99 to place 6th – Lehr doubled up with the 2-mile finishing 21st in 12:24.64 – while George Pomer prepped for the state pentathlon meet by taking 5th in the high jump with a height of 5-feet, 10-inches.

Other Marauders in the meet included Austin Lasseter (19.01.25) in the long jump, Jason Woo (7.08) and Maya Rodriquez-Clark (7.84) in the 55 meter prelims, Ailinn Capitani who took 20th in the mile (5:44.49) and Shanta Gardner doubling in the long jump (14.11) and the 55 meter hurdles prelim (10.31).

Shea Closing In On All-Time State Mile Mark

Belmont High sophomore Ellie Shea is within an eyelash of becoming the fastest-ever Massachusetts female high schooler to run the indoor mile as the talented athlete set a second national mark in her young career.

After demolishing the record for a freshman in the 5,000 meters outdoors this past June, Shea broke the national indoor mile sophomore record by more than three seconds in 4 minutes, 40,01 seconds at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational held at Boston University. Shea took eight-and-a-half seconds off her previous PB in the mile of 4:48.60 set a few weeks previously. Only nine American high schoolers have broken the 4:40 mark.

In addition to the new mile mark, Shea was timed at the 1500 meters in 4:21.42 which qualifies her to attend the USA Track and Field U20 (under 20) championships and the World U20 Championships in Cali, Columbia this August.

Shea is closing in on the all-time record in the indoor mile by a Massachusetts high schooler held by Lynn Jennings, the three-time World Cross Country champion and Olympic Bronze medalist, who ran a 4:39.0 as a senior in 1978.

Shea will next circle BU’s indoor track on Feb. 27 at the 2022 Boston University Last Chance Meet before deciding whether to finish the season at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in Manhattan or the Nike NSAF Indoor Nationals on Staten Island both on March 11-13.