Shepaug indoor track program looking for championship wins in 2019

The Shepaug High School indoor track program is flourishing and looking to make a mark when the championship section of the schedule rolls around in 2019.

Coach Tara Flaherty is in her fourth season as the indoor track coach at Shepaug, which coincides with the start of the Spartan program. The program has grown from where it started with six athletes in its first year and now the program consistently has 25 to 40 athletes each year.

With no indoor track to practice on, the team has to vie for gym space with well-established cheer and basketball teams, so most of the practices are outdoors and in the weight room.

The student-athletes are extremely dedicated with some athletes planning ahead to outdoor track and some athletes training to keep in shape for baseball or softball. Scheduling meets presents its challenges too.

“Not all of the athletes on the team participate in the track meets as all of our meets are invitationals with most having qualifying standards,” Flaherty said. “It is a challenge to find meets that most of our athletes would be able to compete in with us not having any league meets.

“Indoor track takes a significant amount of dedication by the athletes to run and throw outside in cold weather and the Shepaug athletes are very dedicated,” she said. “We have also, in past years, had to shovel off the track when it snows so that we have a place to work out. It’s always great fun to see the shovels lined up in the locker rooms for our shoveling workouts!”

Key athletes this season for the Spartans include Cam Brown in the 55-meter hurdles and long jump and Gavin Block in the 300. Brown ran 8.44 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles at the Hillhouse Invitational to qualify for states. Brown also qualified for the Class S meet in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 4 inches at the Hillhouse Invitational.

Block’s time of 39.40 in the 300 at the Hillhouse Invitational earned him a spot in the state Class S meet as well.

On the girls side is Olivia Tibbatts, who qualified for the Class S State Championhsip meet with a 45.20 run in the 300 at the Hillhouse Invitational in mid December.