Gazette Girls Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year: Isabela Shepard, Amherst Regional

  • Isabela Shepard, of Amherst Regional, runs the 600 meters during the 2020 PVIAC indoor track championships, at Smith College. Shepard has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 7/23/2020 6:40:30 PM

Going into her senior year of competition, Isabela Shepard was a name to look out for in girls track. By the end of the indoor season, it was a name you couldn’t stop seeing atop the podium.

Shepard breezed through the PVIAC calendar, winning 600-meter events during the regular season with ease.

And heading into the Division 4 State championship, Shepard felt as at ease as ever.

“I really didn’t even think much going into it,” Shepard said. “The people I was competing against are people I compete against all the time, so it didn’t really occur to me that things would be any different.”

Shepard won the 600 with a time of 1 minute, 38.70 seconds. She also anchored Amherst’s winning 4x400 relay team, clocking in the victory at 4:07.99. Amherst tied for eight place at the competition with 24 points, 23 of which were contributed by Shepard’s individual and relay events.

Shepard’s performances netted her a spot at the All-State meet the next week, where she continued her dominant postseason performance.

At All-State, Shepard beat her personal best from the previous week by 2 seconds, finishing in fourth place with a time of 1:36.68. The finish secured her a spot at the New England Championships. Shepard’s 4x400 relay team finished eighth.

And at the New England Championships, Shepard put forth the highlight of her season, strengthening her PR even further and winning the 600 with a time of 1:35.49.

For her accomplishments, Shepard has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Girls Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year.

Shepard said Amherst assistant coach Bob Rosen’s game plan was the blueprint for her success in the race.

“My coach Bob Rosen set out this plan, and it was all him,” Shepard said. “He said, ‘If a girl is ahead of you, just try to follow behind her, and as soon as you hit the final 100 meters take off and pull ahead.’ And that’s exactly what ended up happening.”

Her performance earned her a spot at the indoor national meet scheduled for March 13-15 in New York City. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the event was cancelled.

Soon after, the outdoor spring season was also officially canned. Though it was a formality relative to the sudden nature of winter tournament cancellations, it still wasn’t easy for Shepard to see the latter end of her final season taken away.

“I feel half-accomplished,” Shepard said. “In the 800 meter, I was already beating the outdoor record we have at our school, and I was on the way in the 400. That’s two potential records I could have broken at my school, and now I just won’t be able to.”

What Shepard will do, though, is continue her track career at the collegiate level. She’ll be running at the Division I level for Boston University in the winter, assuming that winter sports can be held.

Amherst girls coach Dr. Mulazimuddin Rasool “was actually the one who made me super excited about furthering my track career,” Shepard said. “His passion for running and health inspires me.”

As is the nature with track & field, every coach lends a hand. Amherst boys coach David Thompson often works with athletes from both teams.

“Even though (Thompson) is officially the boys track coach, he’s always been there for both teams throughout the years,” Shepard said. “He always looks out for you ... he’s the one who was always in contact with other coaches when I was interested in a school.”

Shepard is thankful for what running has done for her life.

“(Running) is just fundamental — in every sport and in fitness in general,” Shepard said. “If you really want to get into shape, track is the way to go. It takes a lot of effort, but it is so rewarding.”

Gazette Girls Track & Field All-Star Team

Danielle Beason, senior, Amherst Regional

Nava Chevan, senior, Northampton

Farrell Dawson, junior, South Hadley

Maddie Dolittle, senior, South Hadley

Anna Evans, junior, South Hadley

Ella Francis, junior, South Hadley

Saraphina Forman, junior, Northampton

Adele Jordan, junior, Northampton

Lila Lofving, senior, Northampton

Lindsay Marjanski, senior, South Hadley

Maggie Reade, junior, Northampton

Anajisa Robinson, sophomore, Amherst Regional

Emma Sandford, freshman, South Hadley

Maddie Shea, junior, Amherst Regional

Isabela Shepard, senior, Amherst Regional

Juliana Shepard, sophomore, Amherst Regional

Meghan Sullivan, sophomore, Pope Francis

Hannah Wodecki, sophomore, Hampshire Regional

Mary Yount, senior, Northampton


Mohawk Trail Regional sophomore Lilliana Manley was inadvertently omitted from the Gazette Girls Nordic Skiing All-Star Team.

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