Shepaug senior smashes 44-year-old league record
WASHINGTON — Shepaug track star Sean Parker continues to put his name in the record books, and this time he erased a longstanding mark to do it.
Running in the Berkshire League Championship meet on Saturday at Plumb Hill in Litchfield, the senior smashed the league record in the 3200 meters, winning the race in a stunning time of 9:33.36, a full 331/2 seconds ahead of second-place Gavin Woodward of Northwestern Regional. The previous record belonged to Dave Dunleavy of Brookfield, who set it 44 years ago and held it until Parker broke it by 15 seconds.
The record was certainly something Parker was shooting for entering the meet, but he had to go it alone. There were no pacesetters and no other runners challenging him, so he had to pick up the pace on his own.
“It was very exciting to break the BL record, especially since it's 44 years old,” Parker said. “I knew coming in that I had a very good chance at breaking it, but running that fast on your own with no competition is never easy.”
Perhaps more impressive than Parker breaking the record is the fact that his coach didn’t feel that the UConn-bound senior had his best day, and that there is more in the tank.
“Sean had his eyes set on that record since the BL Championship meet last year and knew coming into this outdoor season that he was primed to get it,” Shepaug track coach John Spear said. “His work leading up to the race gave him enough strength to break the record, even though Saturday was not his best race and he didn't seem to have his A game.”
But if Saturday’s run was any indication, Parker will be cranking up his A game soon after easing into the season. After standout cross-country and indoor track seasons, Parker has been taking his time rounding into shape and getting himself primed for the championship meet portion of the schedule.
“My season so far has been relatively low-key and I haven't raced extremely hard yet for 3200 meters, with my only real race so far being in 5000 meters at the Amity midnight invitational, in which I ran a personal record 15:11,” Parker said. “For the rest of the season, I'll be focusing on running 3200, but hopefully our team can put together a strong enough 4x800 to compete to win Class S.”
The Class S record in the 3200 is 9:26.39 and the Shepaug school record is 9:26.99. Parker will take aim at those records on June 1 at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
“I'm hoping to break both of those records on the day of the Class S championships,” Parker said. “After that, when I have real competition, I'm hoping to get under 9:12, which is the qualification for 5000 meters for New Balance Outdoor Nationals.
Coach Spear is looking forward to Parker getting pushed as well.
“I'm looking forward to state opens when there will be the best distance runners in the state around Sean,” he said.