MHS girls' track and field starts off strong

By Martha Marteney-Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Apr. 15, 2011
MHS junior Kylie McCarney is a mid-distance runner in the 4x800-meter relay and the 800-meter race. Photos by Martha Marteney.
MHS junior Kylie McCarney is a mid-distance runner in the 4x800-meter relay and the 800-meter race. Photos by Martha Marteney.

Now in his second year as the Manchester High School girls’ track and field head coach, Shelldon Simpson continues to bring his experience as a state-record-holding sprinter to his team, as well as the boys’ track and field team. In deciding to take on the role of head coach, Simpson said, “I wanted to create consistency for them. It’s definitely helped.” Last year, 44 girls tried out for the team. This year, that number increased to 63.

The team ended its season last year 4:3. “It went well overall,” said Simpson. “We were a young team, but now we’re even younger,” noting that most of the new team members are underclassmen. The team has only seven seniors: Emily Anderson, Sarah Cinquemani, Jessica Matulaitis, Liz Moran, Breanna Redden, Cynthia Tetteh and Chelsey Watson.

“We’re really strong in hurdles and in distance,” said Simpson. “We’re young in sprints, jumps and throws.” As sprint coach, Simpson focuses on form, proper technique, stretching and weight lifting to keep up general strength. He added that getting points in the throwing events (discus, shot put and javelin) will be difficult because most of the team members are young and inexperienced. “We’re mainly trying to work on getting a better record this year than last year.”

Simpson said he was glad that junior Arianna Rivera will be back with the team this year. Last year, Rivera suffered a concussion, unrelated to track, and could not compete in the state tournament, despite having beaten her own 100 and 300 meter hurdle race records. “I just get a really good adrenaline rush,” said Rivera of the hurdle races. “I don’t even notice the hurdles when I run.” In addition to competing in the 100 and 300 meter hurdle races, Rivera also enters the 4x400 meter relay and the long jump. “I really want to make it to nationals,” said Rivera about this year’s goal, “and break the long jump record.” She was also a member of the MHS basketball team.

Through the seasons, Emily Anderson is a long-distance runner, who was also a member of the cross-country and indoor track teams. The senior runs in the 4x800 meter relay, as well as the 1600  and 3200 meter races. She likes the strategy needed for long distance running. “I like how you have to stay focused through the whole race.” Her goal for this year is to beat the MHS school record for the 1600 meter race. “I’m close,” she said about needing to shave just one second off her time.

“I think the team’s coming together well,” commented Anderson, noting that the first meet on April 6 gave the team members good exposure to their individual events. MHS took that meet against Weaver High School 99-51. “We’re looking to having a good season,” she said, “and being competitive in the conference.”

“I think there’s a lot more depth for the team this season,” added senior Sarah Cinquemani. As a hurdler, she is glad to see other strong racers returning to the event, plus some great freshmen hurdlers. She made it to the LL division competition last year for the 100 and 300 meter hurdle races, and is shooting to qualify again this year. “Each year, I’m just hacking off my time,” said Cinquemani. She said she is also looking forward to making a more serious effort with the javelin. “I wanted to pick up another event, and throwing seemed interesting. Cinquemani was also on the MHS soccer and indoor track teams.

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