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Sports Person of the Week
Stettinger Puts Together Record-Setting Campaign
Alice Stettinger put together an amazing season as a sophomore for the East Haven girls’ outdoor track squad, setting SCC West Sectional and school records in the javelin. (Photo courtesy of Alice Stettinger)
It didn’t take long for Alice Stettinger to make her mark with the East Haven girls’ outdoor track team. In her first year with the Yellowjackets, Alice broke the school record in the javelin and won the event at three postseason competitions to highlight a spectacular sophomore season.
Alice took first place in the javelin at the SCC West Sectional Championship, the SCC Championship, and the Class MM State Championship for the Easties this spring. Alice broke the school record for javelin with a throw of 122 feet-9 inches at the sectional meet, in addition to winning both the shot put and the discus, helping East Haven finish in first place as a team.
Alice got her first taste of track and field as a 7th-grader when one of her gym teachers at the Ross Woodward school in New Haven suggested that she throwing the shot put at North Haven’s Rotary Club. At first, Alice didn’t like the event that much and was reluctant to continue. However, after talking to Yellowjackets’ coaches Rusty Dunne and Jim Vicario during her sophomore year of high school, Alice decided that she wanted to give the sport another shot.
“Sophomore year came around, and Coach Dunne told me he wanted me to try shot put. He said he wanted me to do javelin and discus, too. I started that and honestly fell in love with it,” Alice says. “The technique was very different, but Coach Dunne and Coach Vicario are great coaches. The team itself is so helpful. They’re so supportive.”
As a member of the Yellowjackets, Alice’s next task was to learn how to throw both the discus and javelin, as well as the shot put. It was a difficult process at first, but with a little help from junior teammate Princess Aggrey, Alice started to enjoy competing in all three events.
“It was hard. I was throwing javelin and shot put at the same time. I was running back and forth. It made me realize how the meets were going to go. My teammate always gave me a heads-up when I was next,” says Alice. “I’m still new to everything. The techniques are different. It was a great experience this year. Can’t wait for next year honestly.”
Alice made history with her performance in the javelin at SCC West Sectionals. Her first throw went 113 feet, which marked a new personal best. When she launched a toss of 118 feet on her second attempt, Alice looked at Coach Vicario and could see how he excited he was. Then on her third attempt, Alice recorded a throw of 122-9 that broke both East Haven’s school record and the SCC West Sectional record. Once her final distance was verified, the emotions started pouring out of both Stettinger and Vicario.
“My third throw was my 122 throw. I knew it was a good throw, just something in my body. I knew it was the throw,” Alice says. “The second the man said the number, Coach Vicario’s jaw dropped. It was like the most exciting thing ever. He gave me the biggest high five, the biggest hug. I started to tear up. I’m a sophomore doing this. Without the coaches and the team, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
Alice also won the shot put (35-5) and the discus (105-2) at the SCC West Sectional Championship, after which she finished first in the javelin at the SCC Championship with a throw of 118-7. She also took third place in the shot put (35-5.5) and sixth for the discus (92-0) at SCCs.
In her next meet, Alice claimed first place in the javelin at the Class MM State Championship with a distance of 118-10. She went on to finish fourth at the State Open with a 118-6.
After watching her older sister Jess win state titles with East Haven’s softball and girls’ basketball teams, Alice felt proud to bring some more championship hardware for the Stettinger family.
“I saw my sister do it and thought it was my time to shine with East Haven. With track, it was my time to shine,” says Alice. “I’m so happy that I can be next to my sister now in competition. It’s nice to say that we’re both sisters and we both have state championships.”
While Vicario serves as the Yellowjackets’ throwing coach, Dunne is the head coach of the East Haven girls’ outdoor track squad. Coach Dunne was impressed with how quickly Alice saw success on the track and field circuit and believes that she has a bright future ahead of her in the sport.
“Alice is a tremendous athlete. She moves very gracefully and is very athletic,” says Dunne. “Alice has unlimited potential. If she stays on track, she has Division I potential. It is certainly possible.”
Alice is also a member of East Haven’s girls’ volleyball and basketball teams. Alice has always considered basketball her primary sport, but after putting together such a great sophomore season, and seeing the achievements of teammates like recent graduate Kisha Francois, Alice wants to continue focusing on track and field and see how far she can go.
“Basketball was my No. 1. I thought I was pretty decent. But seeing all of my progress this year has really sparked something in my head,” Alice says. “I might really have potential in this. Seeing how well Kisha has done, I realized how much potential she had and thought maybe I have that same potential.”
In just one season, Alice has already carved out a place in East Haven track history. As she moves forward in her career, Alice wants to keep improving in all three throwing events and continue making memories with her teammates and coaches.
“The coaches make me want to be an athlete,” says Alice. “I’m proud to say I’m an East Haven athlete in track and field because of the team.”