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.

Belmont Tracksters Score At Div. 2 Indoor Championships

Photo: Joy He finished fifth in the sprint hurdles.

Jumping over things was Belmont High athletes speciality at the MIAA Division 2 Indoor Track Championships held Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston. 

Junior Joy He strode over five 33-inch high barriers in 9.05 seconds to take 5th in the 55 meter hurdles. In the boys’ high jump, senior Merrill Barnes soared 6 feet, 2 inches to finish 4th while senior Gabriella Viale took 7th in the girls’ high jump clearing 5 feet, 2 inches, as junior Laura Baird ended up one place back of Viale in 8th clearing 5 feet. 

Barnes and Viale qualified for the All-State Meet on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. They will be joined at the meet by Isabel Burger in the girls’ mile.

Belmont was also scored on the track as a pair of youngsters stood out. In the mile, sophomore Burger ran a brave 1 mile race against Natick’s superstar Grace Connelly to finish in 5th in 5 minutes, 18.50 seconds while fellow 10th grader Rachel November finished 8th in the 600 meters with 1:42.10.

In the relays, the girls 4×200 (each athlete run one lap) consisting of Leya El-Chanati, Drew Bates, Shanta Gardner and Sophia Hospodar finished in 13th in 1:51.77 while the 4×400 team of He, November, Olivia Zarzycki and Soleil Tseng ran a 4:18.39 for 8th.

Belmont Girls finished in 12th with 13 points while the Boys’ finished in 23rd with 5 points. 

Belmont’s ‘Hurdle Squad’ Heads To Nationals With No Time To Spare [VIDEO]

Photo: The Belmont “Hurdle Squad”: Joy He, Knar Krafian, Sam Lu and Sarah Firth.

Talk about hitting the mark.

Belmont High School’s “Hurdle Squad” – junior Joy He, sophomores Knar Krafian, Sam Lim and Sarah Firth – had one chance to reach the qualifying time in the unique 4×55 meter Shuttle Hurdle Relay to qualify for the 2019 New Balance Nationals Indoor in New York City in early March. 

The squad came to the Reggie Lewis Center on Sunday, Feb. 10 to compete in the apt name MSTCA “Last Chance to Qualify Meet” with one thing in mind: 34.44 seconds, the time they needed to reach to punch their tickets to the Big Apple. The girls knew they were fast having won the 4×50 yard hurdle relay at the MSTCA Indoor Division 2 Relay in 30.85 seconds.

Now a little about the event. The shuttle hurdles is hardly seen by even track fans as it takes place in relay meets. Each of four hurdlers on a team runs the opposite direction from the preceding runner. It’s a shuttle as no baton is used, when the runner crosses the line, the next takes off much like swimming relays. The event can at times be the roller derby of track with barriers flying and runners falling into other teams lanes. 

Held early in the meet, the squad was matched up against a very good Andover team. By the time Firth took off on the anchor leg, Belmont needed a power run from Belmont’s best hurdler this season. And the second year runner crossed the time slightly behind Andover. But it wasn’t the placement, it was the time. The time came up on the scoreboard. Belmont: 34.44. On the button.

The “Hurdle Squad” is heading to New York City. Enjoy the backpacks of swag.

ALL-STATE CHAMPS! Perkins, Krafian Take Track Titles, Girls 400 Relay Breaks School Record

Photo: Belmont’s All-State Champions; Calvin Perkins (left) and Anoush Krafian.

A pair of Belmont senior track athletes raced to the top of the winner’s podium at the 33rd annual MIAA Indoor Track & Field All-State Championship held at Boston’s Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center on Saturday, Feb. 24. 

Calvin Perkins broke the 80-second barrier in the 600 meters, taking first in 1 minute, 19.97 seconds, defeating Newton North junior Theo Burba (1:20.42) by nearly half a second in the two-lapper. 

It was deja vu for Anoush Krafian as the Dartmouth-bound multi-talent won her second all-state hurdle title – she took the 2017 outdoor 100-meter hurdle crown – by the same thinnest of margins, out diving Medway junior Ava Vasile by one-hundredth of a second, 8.26 seconds to 8.27 seconds. Krafian time lowered the school record in the event that she set a week previous winning the Division 2 state championship.

Krafian nearly took two titles, finishing second in the high jump, scaling a season-best 5 feet, 6 inches, only bested by Hingham senior Zoe Dainton who cleared 5’9″. Krafian also took 16th in the long jump, 16′ 6.25″, an event that took place immediately after the hurdles.

Belmont’s quartet in the 4×400 meter relay – seniors Emily Duffy and Carey Allard, sophomore Soleil Tseng and freshman Rachel November – finished in 7th in 4 minutes, 5.06 seconds, breaking the school record of 4:05.33 the team set last week. The Boys 4×400 squad made up of seniors Max-Serrano-Wu, Mel Nagashima, Bryan Huang and Perkins had a rough race with a dropped baton and finished in 3:33.81 for 15th.

The Belmont Girls finished in 6th place with 20 points while the Boys placed 15th with 10 points.

Another One Bites The Dust: Perkins Breaks 300 Record; Fastest 600 HS Runner in US

Photo: Calvin Perkins at the 2017 Massachusetts All-State outdoor meet.

Don’t tell Calvin Perkins to slow down; he’s got more records to break.

The Belmont High senior all-star has taken down his second school indoor track record, turning in a stellar 35.67 second in the 300 meters last Thursday, Dec. 28 at Boston University in the team’s dual meet vs. Winchester.

And the New Year brought even better news for the talented Perkins – he is a multi-year all-district musician playing the trumpet – as his 600-meter record of 1 minute 21.42 set on Dec. 22 was ranked the fastest time in the US for High School 600 meter runners so far this indoor season.

Move Over Victor: Perkins Breaks School’s 600M Indoor Record

Photo: Calvin Perkins after his record-breaking run. (William Brotchie, photo)

According to Belmont High School Head Cross Country and Track Coach William Brotchie, there was actually a 13th Labor of Hercules that was specific to Belmont: to break one of Victor Gras Belmont High School track records. Gras’ name dominates the record books in the middle distance races both indoors and outdoors for the past dozen years with only fleeting attempts to challenge his times.

But Gras’ name will be replaced in the 600 meters when last Friday, Dec 22, Belmont senior Calvin Perkins completed that Herculean feat at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury during the team’s dual meet against Lexington as Perkins took a half a second from the old record crossing the finish line in 1 minute, 21.42 seconds.

The Marauder captain continues his impressive run of form, coming off a junior season that saw him take second in the Massachusetts All-State 800 meters and an 8th in the 600 meters in March’s Indoor state meet.