Shelly LaBarre started Gill's Indoor Track & Field Program 21 years ago, when she began as a health and physical education teacher. In all this time, she never imagined competing during a pandemic, and this season will surely look different from past ones. For starters, all formal indoor meets and state-wide championships – contests where her athletes traditionally excel – have been cancelled. Despite this, Coach LaBarre is determined to make the most of a shortened season, with the official kickoff for in-person practices slated for February 1. In the meantime, her squad started virtual outdoor workouts this week.
"This year, we'll use the winter season to train for our spring season by working on technique and displaying our talents in outdoor polar bear meets, inter-squad meets, and some small-scale specialized indoor venues for jumps and throws," said Coach LaBarre. "We are used to the weather, as we always train outdoors, so polar bear meets will not be a problem. My goal is for our athletes to get some quality training, work on sport-specific technique, and get stronger and faster. We are excited and up for the challenge this winter. We are looking to build upon the enthusiasm and talent of last year's squad."
The 2020 boys' team placed as runner-up in the Prep B Championship and turned out two state champions. Joe Licata returns as a two-time Prep B champ, winning a Non-Public B State Championship last year in the shot put. He also leads the boys' squad in throws. This season, head sprinters will include Sohan De Silva '21, Zach Yekta '21, and Alex Tulenko '22, while Ansh Patel '21, James Koether '21, and Will Strong '22 will take charge of the middle and distance running events.
On the girls' side, Hayley Armstrong '21 had stellar performances in the long sprints and the 800 meter. Looking ahead, Delaney Yates '23 and Ava Escousse '21 will lead the sprints, and the multi-talented duo, Kellyn Bucceri '22 and Ellen Besjak '21, will dominate in the hurdles, jumps, and sprints.
"We have a lot of young talent and new members to our team, and we are looking for fantastic results from them this season," said Coach LaBarre.
Run, Knights, run!