Dejana earns All-America honors at Junior Olympics
Shelby Dejana became an All-American in the meet’s most demanding event.
Competing for the Wilton-based Connecticut Elite Track & Field Club, Dejana finished seventh in the heptathlon at the USATF (USA Track & Field) National Junior Olympics in Sacramento, Calif.
The top-eight finishers in each event earned All-America honors at the meet, which took place July 22-28 on the campus of Sacramento State.
Dejana, a rising senior at Wilton High School, compiled a personal-best total score of 3,766 points to place seventh in the women’s 15-16-year-old division of the heptathlon, which consisted of seven events spread over two days.
Shaina Zinter won the gold medal with 4,261 points. Eva Bruce was the silver medalist with 4,104 points and Nayeli Williams earned the bronze medal with 4,059 points.
Dejana won the 200-meter dash in a time of 25.84 seconds. She added a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (15.74) and was seventh in the 800-meter run (2:33.52) and ninth in the long jump (15’9”).
Dejana also finished 10th in the high jump (4’6”), 12th in the javelin (68’0”), and 20th in the shot put (18’0”).
“Shelby had two basic goals going into the competition,” said Kevin Foley, the head coach of the Connecticut Elite program. “The first was to finish in the top eight to make All-American and the second was to surpass 3,800 points. Had it not been for a couple of fouls in the shot put, she would have achieved both her goals.”
Dejana also competed in two individual events at nationals, advancing to semifinals in both the 100-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash. She chose to skip the hurdles finals and focus on the 100-meter dash, finishing 17th in a personal-best time of 12.40 seconds.
Connecticut Elite had a second All-American in Emma Langis, a Ridgefield resident who finished sixth in the women’s 17-18 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02:01.
“Emma has run two times in the top 50 in the U.S. in the 400 hurdles this year and took 2.5 seconds off her PR (personal record) in the last five-to-six weeks,” said Foley. “Her preliminary and final times in Sacramento were just a shade off her best but still in the top 60 in the U.S. [this year]. Emma is a tremendous athlete and she had quite the fantastic post-high school season this year.”
Another Connecticut Elite member, Jack Myers of Wilton, competed in the men’s 15-16-year-old 100- and 200-meter dashes at the national meet. His time of 11.43 seconds in the 100 left him seven places away from making the semifinals, and his time of 22.93 seconds in the 200 was only four places removed from a semifinal berth.
“I really cannot say enough about Jack and how he has taken to track and field in his first year,” said Foley. “His times for a first-year guy are tremendous and he is still learning a lot about his events. If you want to keep an eye on an up-and-coming track and field athlete over the next couple of years, that would be Jack.”
Also competing in her first national meet as a high school level athlete for Connecticut Elite was Mariella Schweitzer of Easton, who placed 21st in the women’s 15-16-year-old long jump with a best effort of 16 feet, one inch.
“Mariella tweaked her back a bit in the long jump, which held her back in that event as well as the hurdles,” said Foley. “She was a high school freshman this past year so I have no worries about her future, and while she was a bit disappointed in her outcomes at the meet, she will be back better and stronger. She is another one to watch going forward.”
Notes: Dejana finished the nationals meet with six personal-best performances. Her heptathlon total of 3,766 points was 147 points better than her score at the USATF Region 1 meet earlier in July.