Triton Vikings Boys Track and Field '08

Triton's Sheldon honored for nearly 40 years of coaching service

  • Currently 0.0 with 0 votes.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bryan Eaton, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Thursday, April, 24 By John Shimer
Staff writer

On an exceptionally beautiful day along the marsh at Triton High School, the track teams of Amesbury, Newburyport, Ipswich, Pentucket, and Triton gathered for the annual Triton Triple Classic for a special occasion to honor the man who first started the event back in the early 1970s.

For over 50 years, Henry Sheldon has served the Triton school district area, first as a gym teacher in Salisbury in the early 1950s before becoming a gym teacher and the Vikings' first track coach when the school opened in 1971.

In recognition of Sheldon's longtime service to the high school and sport, the current Vikings track coach Joe Colbert put together a presentation to rename the meet the Henry Sheldon Triple Classic. Colbert also award Sheldon, who remains the assistant coach for the triple jump, pole vault and hurdlers having stepped down as head coach in 1996, a plaque for his nearly 40 years of coaching.

"This was a huge day, we were so happy and thrilled to honor him because he has been involved with kids for over 50 years," Colbert said. "The kids genuinely love and respect him, and people always say it's nice we've kept him around, but we keep him around because he's a good coach. He's knowledgeable and a great asset."

Sheldon initially got the idea for the Triple Classic after being invited to a similar event in Lawrence early in his tenure as coach. The idea was that each athlete could participate in three events | a relay event, a track event and a field event | and that the meet would involve the local River Rival teams early in the season to get prepared for the year.

Although Sheldon is mum on his actual age, the legendary Viking says staying active in the program is one of the few treats that remains in his life.

"I've continued mainly because I go out the front door and before I know it I'm in the car headed down here," said Sheldon lovingly of the sport he's spent a lifetime coaching. "It's just something I like to do, and when you get to my age there aren't too many things you can do, but I can do this."

For those who have had the pleasure of either being coached by or even coached against Sheldon, they all say they hold the upmost respect for the coach.

"The best quality I can say about Henry is that he is a complete gentleman. He never blows his own horn, he's always talking about his kids," said longtime friend, competitor and assistant Ipswich coach Jack Welch, who has done for the Tigers what Sheldon has done for the Vikings. "He's a pleasure to be around all the time, and there are not too many guys you enjoy being around all the time. We've been friends since he became Triton's coach in 1971, and he's the type of guy that would do anything for you if you asked. Triton is lucky to have him."

Newburyport coach Tim Foley ran against Sheldon way back in the early '60s when Foley was running for Immaculate Conception and Sheldon was at Salisbury Memorial. Foley said he has remembers fondly all the great battles the two River Rival programs have had.

"He's a marvelous guy. He's won state championships and CAL championships at Triton, and it all comes down from the top," Foley complimented. "Henry had the Triton program rolling for years. We had some epic battles | I won a few and he won more than a few. But, it was always a pleasure to go against Triton."

There has been so many great memories and accomplishments in Sheldon's time at Triton. One track athlete he remembered in particular was Mark Duff, who set both the school and CAL record in the pole vault, which still stand today, and finished second at New Englands.

"You never know what to expect day to day, every meet has something new," Sheldon said. "Kids that you don't expect to do anything sometimes do big thing, and all that stuff gives you a lift."

Yet, the modest coach said the torch has been passed on to Colbert.

"Joe had done a great job since he's been here, and he's been a really good recruiter," Sheldon said. "If you can get 70 to 80 boys and another 60 girls you're going to find someone.

"But today was a great surprise and really exceptional."

Triton win Sheldon Triple Classic

Triton prevailed in the inaugural Henry Sheldon Triple Classic, scoring 300 points. Ipswich came in second, Pentucket was third, Newburyport was fourth and Amesbury fifth. The meet combined the results of both the boys and girls teams.

On the girls side, Triton's Deanna Latham had three first-place finishes including the triple jump, the high hurdles, and helping the 4x400 team of Brittany Caprio, Morgan Foster, and Tori Clay also claim victory.

On the boys side, Triton's Peter Rock and Billy Tindle each had two first-place finishes. Rock won both the long jump and 400 meters, while Tindle won the high hurdles and helped the helped the shuttle hurdle relay team of Adam Jones, Nate Lewis and Kyle Devenish to victory.

Other winners included Pentucket's April O'Brien (800), Hillary Biggs (long jump) and Alanna Poretta (mile), Newburyport's Richie Pace (shot put), Tom Svirsky (200), and Richie Roy (400 hurdles), Amesbury's Ryan Johnston (100), and Triton's Michelle Bashaw (javelin), Nicki Wurdeman (shot put) and Kyle Devenish (triple jump, shuttle relay).

0 Story Comments