Belmont Pair Leave Their Mark Over Two Miles On The Track

Photo: Belmont High student and Emerging Elite athlete Ellie Shea (Credit: Sage Zipeto, Brooks PRI)

Two young Belmont track runners – one already well-established and the other a newcomer breaking into the spotlight – came home with silverware over the same distance captured at separate national competitions earlier this month.

And this coming weekend, Ellie Shea and Dana Lehr could be competing against each other for the first time at the National Championships for athletes under 20 years old.

Shea continues her impressive track results, winning the two-mile at the annual Brooks PR Invitational (PRI) on June 14. Toeing the line against a deep field of speedy athletes, Shea was at the top of her game having smashed her PR in the mile two weeks earlier with a 4 minute, 37.22 second, the fastest mile ever by a Massachusetts high schooler (although it is not an official record as it was set in a mixed gender race).

Unlike some of her previous distance races where she would run away from the competition, Shea – wearing her trademark cobalt-blue sunglasses – would have all she could handle with a familiar opponent, senior Leah Stephens from Maryland (they battled each other at the Champs National Cross Country Championships in December) who ran shoulder to shoulder with the Emerging Elite athlete as they were running steady laps.

On the final of eight laps, Shea and Stephens were stride for stride as the Florida State-bound runner held off Shea on the final corner. But at the head of the home stretch, Shea increased the pace to pass Stephens breaking the finishing tape in 9:53.36 to be the fastest high school two-miler in the US this year.

See Ellie’s outstanding race here

Unlike the past two years, Shea would skip racing at the annual Nike Outdoor Nationals for high school student in Eugene, Oregon that weekend, leaving the stage to her Emerging Elite teammate Lehr.

At the New Balance National Outdoor Championships in Philadelphia, the Belmont High 10th grader ran in the Rising Star meet, highlighting the nation’s up-and-coming tracksters on June 14. Running in the first of two heats at the historic Franklin Field track, Lehr would benefit from the brave pace setting of junior Reece Landis of Ohio. Almost from the start, the race was a three runner affair with Landis out front followed by Lehr and junior Maggie Powers from Indiana in that order.

Landis would slowly stretch her lead in the second mile where a the bell lap she appeared to have shed her pursuers with nearly a 10 meters lead. But Lehr would erase the 1.2 second deficit using her impressive 800-meter speed – she won the MIAA Division 2 title in May – to marshal a 74 second final lap to take the heat in 10:41.59, winning by five seconds over Landis as the Belmontian lowering her 2-mile PR by a minute and five seconds since February. And when the second heat developed into a tactical contest, Lehr’s time stood up to take the title.

You want to see Lehr’s race? Here it is

After winning her contest, Lehr decided – why not – to jump into the Championship Mile, placing 6th in her heat and 33rd overall in 4:57.88, just a second off her PR.

With her time, Lehr made the qualifying time for the 3000 and 5,000 meters at the USATF U20 Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene taking place on July 6-9. And with Shea also qualifying in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters – just a reminder: since it has been a very long season for both young women, there is no guarantee either will attend – it could be big couple of days for these residents.

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.