Hillsborough High School’s winter track coach, Rich Refi, did not expect his top girl runner, Kirstyn Schechter, to break a program record on Jan. 8.
But that’s exactly what she did.
In the 55-meter dash at the Colts Neck Invite meet in Toms River, Schechter finished in 7:50, breaking the old program mark of 7:54. The sophomore also won the race, beating 126 other runners.
“It was a nice surprise,” Refi said.
The record had been standing for nearly four years. Kelsey Vieira set it on Jan. 28, 2015 in the Ed Grant Last Chance Meet at the Jersey City Armory. During her Hillsborough career, which ended in 2016, Vieira also set program marks in the 200-meter dash and in the long jump.
Like her predecessor, Schechter is versatile. Refi also runs the sophomore in the 4×400 relay, the 4×800 relay, the shuttle hurdle relay and the high jump. It is just a matter of how much Schechter can handle on a given day.
“Kirstyn is very good. She’s our most versatile girl,” Refi said. “Her range is incredible, but I can only put her in so many events in the same meet.”
At the Somerset County Championship in Bethlehem, Pa. on Dec. 27, Schechter helped Hillsborough win the 4 x 51.5-meter shuttle hurdle relay. She also placed second in the high jump.
Refi is hoping Schechter will make more noise in Hillsborough’s upcoming championship meets, too, especially in the Skyland Conference championship race on Jan. 27 and in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional championship meet on Feb. 2.
“She was very good last year, too,” Refi said. “So I hoped for her to do this this year. I’m just not sure I expected it.”
Schechter is not the only Raider runner hoping to make noise in those meets.
The shuttle hurdle relay team of Schechter, Neev Agarwal, Allison Dorrler and Shelsea Rigby dominated the competition at the Somerset County championship meet. Refi is confident they can keep it going.
“They just look decent from what they’ve done so far,” Refi said. “They ran faster than the other schools in Somerset County. We were in the lead the whole time, from start to finish. There is no plan in the shuttle hurdle, either. You just run as fast as you can.”
Agarwal is like Schechter: versatile. She won the high jump in the Somerset County Championship, and she should remain formidable in that event going forward.
“Neev and Kirstyn have both jumped five feet, which is good,” Refi said.
The Raiders also may be hard to beat in the shot put event. Symone Marsh and Brielle Kelly placed first and second, respectively, in the shot put on Dec. 27.
“They should be able to place in that event moving forward, too,” Refi said.
The coach has even outlined a team goal: place in the top six in the sectional championship and earn a medal. He said that’s also the goal for each runner, in each event, who is capable of it.
“Any medal we get I’ll be thrilled,” Refi said.