Rebels win Shore Conference and Monmouth County track and field crowns
A season of defining moments marked the 2021-22 campaign for the Howell High School girls’ winter track team.
The Rebels won the program’s first Monmouth County tag team championship and the program’s first Shore Conference tag team title.
Kevin Dee, who coached the boys’ and girls’ athletics programs at Howell for 32 years, said: “I’m lucky to have a great group of girls who have bought into what we want to do in as a program. We had almost every athlete in every event doing well. It was awesome.
Howell defeated Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School to win the tag team titles at the Monmouth County Championships and the Shore Conference Championships.
Both competitions took place at the Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex, Toms River.
The Rebels defeated the Bulldogs, 54.50-50, to win the Monmouth County title on January 21.
Less than a week later, Howell defeated Rumson-Fair Haven, 46-27, to capture the Shore Conference crown on January 27.
Senior Laura Gugliotta has flourished in the 55 meters and 400 meters at each tournament.
At the Monmouth County Championships, Gugliotta won the 400 meters in 58.16. She placed second to Tia Grace Feneis of Manalapan in the 55m sprint final.
Gugliotta won both events at the Shore Conference Championships. She clocked a season best time of 7.32 to win the 55 meters and she added another gold in the 400 meters with a winning time of 59.34.
“Laura is an amazing person. She’s an amazing kid and an outrageous athlete,” Dee said.
Gugliotta, a University of Pennsylvania entrant, holds the program record for the 400 meters outdoors (56.56) which she ran in the spring of 2021.
Dee believes Gugliotta is set to have a great 2022 spring track campaign based on his performances so far in the 2021-22 winter season.
Junior Samantha Strydesky had an outstanding winter campaign in the high jump.
Strydesky won the Monmouth County high jump title with a winning jump of 5ft 6in. A week later, she captured the Shore Conference high jump title with a game-winning jump of 5-foot-4.
“Samantha is one of the best jumpers in the state,” Dee said. “She consistently hit 5-foot-6 this season as a junior. She has what it takes to be a very good high jumper.
Rookie Keira Mullen made her mark in the high jump during the 2021-22 season.
Mullen won a bronze medal in this event at the Monmouth County Championships. A week later, she jumped a season-best 5-footer at the Shore Conference Championships to score team points for Howell with a fourth-place finish.
Senior Sydni Bell dazzled in the 55m hurdles. She won a bronze medal in the event and scored team points which helped the Rebels win the Monmouth County crown. Sara Veres scored team points for the Rebels with a sixth-place finish in the event.
Bell posted a season-best 9.19 in the 55-yard hurdles at the Shore Conference Championships to place fourth.
Senior Melanie Barbosa helped the Rebels to their team wins with her performance in the 3,200 meter (2 mile) race. Barbosa won a bronze medal in both the county meet and the conference meet. She posted her best time of the season (11:40.26) at the Shore Conference Championships.
In relay events, Howell’s 4×400 meter relay team placed third at the Monmouth County Championships and fifth at the Shore Conference Championships.
The Rebels will look to capture the program’s first state sectional championship when they compete in the Central Jersey Group IV Championships on Feb. 12 in Toms River.
“We look pretty good. If the kids can do what they’ve shown they can do, I think we can win a section championship,” Dee said.