Wilton-based track club athletes make nationals
With their performances at a regional meet, seven members of the Wilton-based Connecticut Elite Track and Field program qualified for a bigger stage.
Competing at the Region 1 championships in Port Jefferson, N.Y., Shelby Dejana, Emma Langis, Kayla Clark, Ashley Nicoletti, Jack Myers, Mariella Schweitzer, and Jordan Sandell all achieved qualifying standards for the USATF (USA Track & Field) national championships, which took place this week in Sacramento, Calif.
Dejana and Myers are Wilton residents, while the other five are from area towns.
Dejana qualified by winning the ages 15-16 division in the girls heptathlon (seven events contested over two days) at regionals. Dejana had a personal-best score of 3,619 points to beat runner-up Clare Howard of New York by 220 points.
Dejana also placed second in the 100-meter hurdles in a personal-best time of 15.09 seconds and second in the 100-meter dash in 12.54 seconds, qualifying for nationals in those events as well.
“Shelby is a remarkable athlete and has been knocking at the door in trying to qualify in the multi-events, placing third by one point the last two years,” Connecticut Elite coach Kevin Foley said. “The multi’s and hurdling are what we have focused on and it is clearly paying off for her.”
Langis won the 400-meter hurdles at regionals in a time of 61.46. That was only .07 slower than the personal-best time Langis ran at the recent New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet.
“The 400 hurdles may be the most demanding of all track events,” Foley said. “Emma has been working on her pace and rhythm over the past three months and she has decreased her time by almost 2.5 seconds. She can go much faster, and I suspect she will.”
Clark also won a regional title for CT Elite, recording a personal-best of 37 feet, 5.25 inches to win the triple jump. Clark also finished second in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.19 seconds.
“Kayla is a very powerful athlete and a great jumper and hurdler,” Foley said. “She has worked very hard to improve all the phases of her jump and has her sights set on surpassing 38 feet. I have no doubt we will see that happen in the near future.”
Ashley Nicoletti was the fourth regional champion for CT Elite, placing first in the javelin with a throw of 86 feet, four inches.
“Ashley just started training in the javelin in June, so her progress has been tremendous,” Foley said.
Nicoletti also took fifth in the 200-meter race with a time of 26.95 and second in the high jump with a personal-best leap of 4’11” to qualify for the national meet.
“Ashley, like Shelby, competed in the heptathlon (fourth-place finish) for two days prior to the individual events so it makes it that much more special that she did so well in her individual events. She works very hard at her craft.”
Myers was fifth in both the 100-meter and 200-meter races in times of 11.4 and 22.95, respectively.
“Jack is a very dedicated athlete and has a tremendous amount of potential as a track athlete. He trains hard and is an awesome addition to our club. I expect some pretty significant performances from Jack as we move forward,” Foley said.
Schweitzer placed second in the long jump (16’5.25”) and third in the 100-meter hurdles (15.44).
“Mariella has been training with us since the fifth or sixth grade and just continually gets better and better,” Foley said. “She is another hard-working athlete who will put up some tremendous marks before she finishes high school.”
Sandell finished second in the long jump (15’3”) and third in the triple jump (33’9”).
“Jordan is actually just starting to peak again after taking some time off after the high school season,” Foley said. “She jumped very well at this meet and our goal is to improve that in the coming weeks.”
Notes: The USATF nationals took place July 22-28 at California State University in Sacramento.