Annual triathlon brings crowd, athletes together at Mudge Pond

SHARON — Facing the glassy surface of Mudge Pond, more than 80 people, wearing wet suits, goggles and swim caps, stood eagerly on the water’s edge. In a few moments they heard “swimmers begin,” and with it, the Sharon Sprint Triathlon kicked off for the 15th time on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Every summer, the Sharon Parks and Recreation Department hosts a family-friendly contest consisting of a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride and 4-mile run.

“It creates some excitement, certainly among the parks and rec committees and down here at the beach,” said Matthew Andrulis-Mette, the director of parks and recreation for the town of Sharon. “The people who do it really, really enjoy it.”

The contest is broken down into three groups: men, women and teams, where two or three people are designated for the three legs of the event. Starting at 8 a.m., the men enter the water, followed by the other two groups 4 minutes later. Michael Harke, 47, was the first back on the shore, swimming the half-mile loop in just over 14 minutes.

The next leg of the triathlon was on bicycles. Leaving Mudge Pond, contestants peddled up a steep hill on Mudge Pond Road, passing Indian Mountain School (IMS) in Lakeville before turning right onto Route 112 and then onto Route 41 and back to Mudge Pond for the finale, a 4-mile run on a similar route.

First-time competitor Victoria McGee, the head rowing coach and assistant athletic director at The Hotchkiss School, said the toughest part of the bike ride was “the stretch up to IMS, because it’s not very flat before that. You kind of just go right in.”

The first person to complete the triathlon was cyclist and runner Ben Sobolewski, the anchor for his team, Sobo SBR, which included his father, Barry, who swam. Claiming first place for the teams category, he finished with a time of 1:21:53.

Two minutes later, Jack McCarron, 23, ran through the finish line. A familiar face to the race, McCarron claimed his third-consecutive first-place finish for the men with a time of 1:23:33  —  just over 4 minutes slower than his time a year prior.

Meagan Ledendecker, 47, who was using this event as training for a race later in the summer, finished first for the women with a time of 1:35:58.

During the award ceremony, McCarron and Ledendecker were awarded a trophy along with a rose of Sharon for their first place prize. Medals were also given out to the first-, second- and third-place finishers for the teams category, as well as for each age group.

With the race over, participants regained their breath, enjoyed complimentary pizza and drinks and put the competition behind them, recapping the best and worst parts of the track, from the grueling hills to the cool breeze they felt on the downhill slopes.

“It’s such an awesome social event for everyone, no matter which level of athlete they are,” said McCarron. “It’s a great way to meet people. I’m glad it’s going on.”

Ben Sobolewski, 20, crossed the finish line first out of the more than 80 registered participants. As the cyclist and runner for his team SOBO SBR, he earned first place for the teams category. Photo by Hunter O. Lyle

Ben Sobolewski, 20, crossed the finish line first out of the more than 80 registered participants. As the cyclist and runner for his team SOBO SBR, he earned first place for the teams category. Photo by Hunter O. Lyle

Ben Sobolewski, 20, crossed the finish line first out of the more than 80 registered participants. As the cyclist and runner for his team SOBO SBR, he earned first place for the teams category. Photo by Hunter O. Lyle

Latest News

The artistic life of Joelle Sander

"Flowers" by the late artist and writer Joelle Sander.

Cornwall Library

The Cornwall Library unveiled its latest art exhibition, “Live It Up!,” showcasing the work of the late West Cornwall resident Joelle Sander on Saturday, April 13. The twenty works on canvas on display were curated in partnership with the library with the help of her son, Jason Sander, from the collection of paintings she left behind to him. Clearly enamored with nature in all its seasons, Sander, who split time between her home in New York City and her country house in Litchfield County, took inspiration from the distinctive white bark trunks of the area’s many birch trees, the swirling snow of Connecticut’s wintery woods, and even the scenic view of the Audubon in Sharon. The sole painting to depict fauna is a melancholy near-abstract outline of a cow, rootless in a miasma haze of plum and Persian blue paint. Her most prominently displayed painting, “Flowers,” effectively builds up layers of paint so that her flurry of petals takes on a three-dimensional texture in their rough application, reminiscent of another Cornwall artist, Don Bracken.

Keep ReadingShow less
A Seder to savor in Sheffield

Rabbi Zach Fredman

Zivar Amrami

On April 23, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield will host “Feast of Mystics,” a Passover Seder that promises to provide ecstasy for the senses.

“’The Feast of Mystics’ was a title we used for events back when I was running The New Shul,” said Rabbi Zach Fredman of his time at the independent creative community in the West Village in New York City.

Keep ReadingShow less
Art scholarship now honors HVRHS teacher Warren Prindle

Warren Prindle

Patrick L. Sullivan

Legendary American artist Jasper Johns, perhaps best known for his encaustic depictions of the U.S. flag, formed the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 1963, operating the volunteer-run foundation in his New York City artist studio with the help of his co-founder, the late American composer and music theorist John Cage. Although Johns stepped down from his chair position in 2015, today the Foundation for Community Arts continues its pledge to sponsor emerging artists, with one of its exemplary honors being an $80 thousand dollar scholarship given to a graduating senior from Housatonic Valley Regional High School who is continuing his or her visual arts education on a college level. The award, first established in 2004, is distributed in annual amounts of $20,000 for four years of university education.

In 2024, the Contemporary Visual Arts Scholarship was renamed the Warren Prindle Arts Scholarship. A longtime art educator and mentor to young artists at HVRHS, Prindle announced that he will be retiring from teaching at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Recently in 2022, Prindle helped establish the school’s new Kearcher-Monsell Gallery in the library and recruited a team of student interns to help curate and exhibit shows of both student and community-based professional artists. One of Kearcher-Monsell’s early exhibitions featured the work of Theda Galvin, who was later announced as the 2023 winner of the foundation’s $80,000 scholarship. Prindle has also championed the continuation of the annual Blue and Gold juried student art show, which invites the public to both view and purchase student work in multiple mediums, including painting, photography, and sculpture.

Keep ReadingShow less