A season of history making moments has marked the 2021-22 campaign for the Howell High School girls winter track and field team.
The Rebels have won the program’s first Monmouth County team championship and the program’s first Shore Conference team title.
Kevin Dee, who has been a coach in Howell’s boys and girls track and field programs for 32 years, said, “I’m lucky to have a great group of girls who have bought into what we want to do as a program. We have had almost every athlete in every event do well. It’s been great.”
Howell outscored Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School to win the team titles at the Monmouth County Championships and at the Shore Conference Championships.
Both meets were held at the Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex, Toms River.
The Rebels defeated the Bulldogs, 54.50-50, to win the Monmouth County title on Jan. 21.
Less than a week later, Howell defeated Rumson-Fair Haven, 46-27, to win the Shore Conference crown on Jan. 27.
Senior Laura Gugliotta flourished in the 55-meter dash and in the 400-meter dash at each tournament.
At the Monmouth County Championships, Gugliotta won the 400-meter dash in 58.16. She placed second behind Manalapan’s Tia Grace Feneis in the 55-meter dash final.
Gugliotta won both events at the Shore Conference Championships. She ran a season-best time of 7.32 to win the 55-meter dash and she added another gold medal in the 400-meter dash with a winning time of 59.34.
“Laura is an amazing person. She is a great kid and an outrageous athlete,” Dee said.
Gugliotta, a University of Pennsylvania commit, holds the program record in the 400-meter dash outdoors (56.56) that she ran in the spring of 2021.
Dee believes Gugliotta is set up to have a great 2022 spring track campaign based on her performance so far during the 2021-22 winter season.
Junior Samantha Strydesky has had an outstanding winter campaign in the high jump.
Strydesky won the Monmouth County high jump title with a winning leap of 5-feet, 6-inches. A week later she won the Shore Conference high jump title with a winning leap of 5-feet, 4-inches.
“Samantha is one of the best jumpers in the state,” Dee said. “She has consistently been hitting 5-feet, 6-inches this season as a junior. She has the goods to be a very good high jumper.”
Freshman Keira Mullen has made her mark in the high jump during the 2021-22 season.
Mullen won a bronze medal in the event at the Monmouth County Championships. A week later she jumped a season-best 5 feet at the Shore Conference Championships to score team points for Howell with a fourth place finish.
Senior Sydni Bell has dazzled in the 55-meter hurdles. She won a bronze medal in the event and scored team points that 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 time of 9.19 in the 55-meter hurdles at the Shore Conference Championships to place fourth.
Senior Melanie Barbosa helped the Rebels secure their team victories with her performances in the 3,200-meter (2 miles) run. Barbosa won a bronze medal at the county meet and at the conference meet. She ran 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 try to win 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 have shown they can do, I think we can win a sectional championship,” Dee said.