Just how exceptional a baseball player was Winthrop resident Shane Sherwood?
Well, formidable enough to be a leadoff hitter, centerfielder, and leading base stealer for the Division 1 University of Arizona Wildcats baseball team. It’s the same program where current Red Sox player Bobby Dalbec also excelled. And like Dalbec, Sherwood had Major League scouts at every one of his collegiate games.
At age 49, Sherwood, who is 5-foot-9 and weighs 160 pounds, is still an active athlete and his accomplishments in endurance multi-sport races are mirroring his previous exploits in high school and in the powerful U of A program.
“I knew Shane was a great athlete when I met him and we became friends quick,” recalled fellow triathlete Warren MacPhail. “I told him if you want to prolong your athletic stuff, you have to start getting into triathlons. And he did and took off with it.”
He certainly has.
Sherwood, 49, just became an All-American as a result of his fourth-place finish in his age division in the National Duathlon Championships held May 22 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is home to the University of Alabama. He was 21st overall and qualified for the World Championships in Amsterdam.
The performance is all the more impressive when you consider that Sherwood hadn’t competed since September, 2019, due to the coronavirus forcing the cancellation of all events in 2020.
“I was viewing this as a training event and hoping that I could go top five and I was happy to get the fourth-place finish, for sure,” said Sherwood. “I’m very pleased with the result.”
Sherwood said temperatures in the 90s and the mugginess at race time made it a challenge for all competitors.
“It was a hot day so coming from the East coast we definitely had to manage our pacing and our hydration properly and stay cool,” he reported.
Arriving in Winthrop
Sherwood coached high school baseball after his career at Arizona and led his team to a state championship in 1997 before moving to the Boston area.
“My father was a Red Sox fan and I was coming here to experience the East Coast for a few years and the next thing you know, 20 years later I’m still here,” said Sherwood, who works for MFS Financial. “I landed in Winthrop and loved it and have been here ever since.
MacPhail Introduces his Friend to Triathlons
Sherwood said he met Warren MacPhail while they were training together for an ironman triathlon competition in 2005.“Warren got me into this stuff,” said Sherwood.
He has been a serious competitor since that time, finishing third in the country in a national triathlon in 2011.
His wife, Ali, an avid runner who has competed in the Boston Marathon and local races, has been supportive of his triathlon journeys.
“She loves the competitions. She’s a big fan and was disappointed not to be able to travel to Alabama for this event,” said Sherwood.
Sherwood himself has competed in seven Boston Marathons, achieving a best time of 2 hours, 57 minutes, in the 26.2-mile race.
So how does it feel to be an “All-American” in a sport that truly challenges the skill, endurance, and and inner determination of an athlete? “I think it shows the longevity and the consistency and the work that you put in over many years – I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to stay healthy and keep fit as part of my lifestyle for this long,” said Sherwood. “But it’s definitely rewarding to get a top result like that and show the work has paid off. I’m very happy with it. I hope to use this a springboard and compete in some triathlons later this year.”