Kennedy selected as one of four captains for Team USA for meet in Australia

Avon's Madison Kennedy at the 2014 world swimming championships.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy

Avon’s Madison Kennedy has been voted by her teammates as one of four captains on the Team USA swim team that is competing in the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series, which opens Friday at Perth’s HBF Stadium in Australia.

The 27-member roster voted Kennedy and  Cammile Adams (Cypress, Texas) as the women’s captains and Cullen Jones (Irvington, N.J.) and Darian Townsend (Phoenix, Ariz.) as the men’s captains.
Featuring teams from the U.S., Australia, China and Japan, the pool competition for the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series is scheduled to be held Friday and Saturday, followed by Sunday’s Swim the Swan open water 10-kilometer race.

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Sun make moves by sending Montgomery, draft picks to Seattle for two veterans

Connecticut's Renee Montgomery drives to the basket in Friday night's loss to Phoenix.

Renee Montgomery drives to the basket against Phoenix.

UNCASVILLE, Conn., Jan. 28, 2015 – The Connecticut Sun isn’t standing still. The Sun has acquired veterans Camille Little and Shekinna Stricklen from the Seattle Storm in exchange for point guard Renee Montgomery and the No. 3 and 15 picks in the upcoming 2015 WNBA draft.

Last week, the Sun announced that last year’s WNBA rookie of the year and No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, forward Chiney Ogwumike, underwent successful microfracture knee surgery. She is expected to have a full recovery but will probably be out of action through July – which is about the midway point of the upcoming season. The Sun aren’t willing to stand pat after an injury riddled 10-24 campaign a year ago.

“This is a significant move for both teams,” said Chris Sienko, the Sun’s vice president and general manager. “Based on our immediate needs, Camille and Shekinna help fill specific roles now and in the future. Of course, to get value, you have to trade value. We wish Renee much success in the future.”Continue Reading

UConn’s Boatright has eyes on the NCAA Tournament

HARTFORD, Jan. 25 – The days are dwindling for UConn senior guard Ryan Boatright. He can see the end of his collegiate career ahead of him. He is determined to go out on the biggest stage he can. “I didn’t come back to play in the NIT,” he told Patrick Tisca of Litchfield County Boatright scored a career-high 28 points including 19 in the second half as the Huskies beat South Florida, 66-53 before 14,105 fans at the XL Center Sunday. Sophomore G Rodney Purvis added 17 for the Huskies (11-7, 4-2 AAC), who beat South Florida (7-13, 1-6) for the second time this month.

Depth helps Avon swimmers beat Hall for first time since 2011

Swimming graphicNEW BRITAIN, Jan. 23 – It was a thrilling finish Friday in Avon’s boys swimming meet with Hall-West Hartford at Central Connecticut State University. The meet came down to the 12th and final event – the 400-yard freestyle relay. 

If Avon captured the event, they would beat Hall for the first time since 2011. If they finished second, it would be a tie. If Avon was third, they would lose. Halfway through the race, Avon trailed by 1.22 seconds. Avon’s Stephen Pang cut the deficit to 0.30 of a second before exiting the pool for Avon’s All-State swimmer Riley Strassner. 

Strassner beat Hall’s anchor leg swimming by four seconds to help Avon earn a 90-86 decision over Hall and their fourth win of the season. Strassner won two individual events – the 200 and 500-yard freestyle and swam on two winning relays. 

Stephen Pang (200 IM, 100 backstroke), Kyle Emery (50 free, 100 free), Matt Bagley (100 fly) and freshman Brendan Downey (diving) also picked up individual victories for Avon (4-2). Bagley was second in the 200 IM and Megan Boswell was second in the 100 backstroke. Continue Reading

New England can’t hold off Minnesota in first defeat of season

New England's Kevin Buchanan (27) flies through the air in Saturday night's NLL game in Uncasville. Buchanan had five goals and four assists but the Black Wolves lost, 19-13.

New England’s Kevin Buchanan (27) flies through the air in Saturday night’s NLL game in Uncasville. Buchanan had five goals and four assists but the Black Wolves lost, 19-13. (Khoi Ton photo courtesy National Lacrosse League)

UNCASVILLE, Jan. 24 – The Minnesota Swarm scored nine second-half goals to hand the New England Black Wolves indoor lacrosse team their first loss of the season, 19-13 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Kevin Buchanan tied a career high with five goals and tied his season high with four assists. Pat Saunders had a career-high five assists with two goals and Jamie Lincoln scored a season-high three goals. Kyle Buchanan chipped in four assists for the Black Wolves, who dropped their first game after winning their first two contests.

“We played like we had a week off,” Black Wolves coach Blane Harrison said, referring to New England’s bye last week. “We were playing pretty good, but then we went our separate ways. They (Minnesota) were battle tested and ready to go, and they took it to us.” Continue Reading

Canton withstands initial surge from Suffield to remain undefeated

Canton's Gabby Rose (32) drives to the basket for two of her 17 points in Friday night's win over Suffield.

Canton’s Gabby Rose (32) drives to the basket for two of her 17 points in Friday night’s win over Suffield.

CANTON, Jan. 23 – As the wins pile up, the Canton High girls basketball team is getting more spirited play from the competition. Suffield wasn’t intimated by the undefeated Warriors scoring the first eight points of the game and leading 10-2 at one point in the first quarter. 

But head coach Brian Medieros and the Warriors didn’t panic. They simply put their heads down and got to work. They started rebounding the basketball and making passes. Canton finished the first quarter on a 13-4 surge, capped off by a Maggie Treacy three-point goal to take a lead they would never relinquish as the Warriors beat Suffield, 56-51. 

Treacy’s three-pointer with three seconds left in the first period gave Canton a 15-14 lead after one quarter. The Warriors extended it to eight points, 26-18, late in the second quarter but Suffield closed out the second quarter with consecutive baskets to cut the Canton lead to four, 26-22. Continue Reading

Avon boys continue their march through the NCCC with another dominating win

Avon's Nate Laszewski (34) tries to dribble around Somers' Steve Rotune in Friday night's NCCC contest in Avon.

Avon’s Nate Laszewski (34) tries to dribble around Somers’ Steve Rotune (21) in Friday night’s NCCC contest in Avon.

AVON, Jan. 23 — After a week off to take mid-term exams, the Avon High boys basketball picked up where it left off a week ago. The Falcons picked up their second straight win by at least 30 points and captured their sixth straight game with a 71-41 win over Somers in NCCC play Friday night.

Six-foot-six sophomore Nate Laszewski dominated the contest with a game-high 27 points. He made just six field goals but sank 15-of-16 foul shots to lead the Falcons, now 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the NCCC. Brian LaChance scored eight with a pair of three-point shots while Tim Patton scored seven with a pair of three-point goals.

Six of Avon’s wins this season have been double-digit victories including a 33-point win over East Granby a week ago (85-52), a 28-point win over Windsor Locks, 69-41, a 20-point win over Enfield, 71-51 and a 23-point win over Suffield, 57-34.Continue Reading

Kennedy to swim on U.S. team in international meet in Australia

Avon's Madison Kennedy at the 2014 world swimming championships.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy at the 2014 world swimming championships.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy has been named to the United States team that will compete in the 2015 BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series swimming competition next week in Perth, Australia on Jan. 30 and February 1. 

Kennedy is one of 10 women to represent the United States in the event that pits the Americans against Australia, China and Japan. Olympic medalists Elizabeth Beisel and Shannon Vreeland will be part of the U.S. women’s team. Ryan Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Cullen Jones lead the American men. 

The meet will be held in an outside pool at HBL Stadium in Perth. It will be the first time that the Americans will compete in the series, which is being held for the third straight year. Continue Reading

Undefeated Canton girls top Saints to win East Lyme Holiday championship

Canton's Maggie Treacy. shown in last year's state tournament, had a game-high 22 points in the win over St. Bernard on Wednesday night.

Canton’s Maggie Treacy. shown in last year’s state tournament, had a game-high 22 points in the win over St. Bernard on Wednesday night to win the East Lyme Holiday Tournament.

MONTVILLE, Jan. 21 – There was no trophy on hand Wednesday night but the undefeated Canton High girls basketball team won the East Lyme Holiday tournament with a 54-26 victory over St. Bernard in Montville. 

The championship game was originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 29 in East Lyme but the game was postponed after threatening posts were discovered on social media. It is the first tournament title earned by the Warriors (12-0) since they won Haddam-Killingworth’s Derita Construction Classic in 2010. 

It was a tight game in the first half. The Saints led by one after one quarter and the Warriors led by four, 24-20 at halftime. St. Bernard’s 6-foot-3 sophomore Caitlyn Dittman scored 15 of her team-high 19 points in the first half. Continue Reading

Two Avon High crew teams win medals at New England regatta

Avon High's boys varsity 8 crew team at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

Avon High’s boys varsity 8 crew team at the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

AVON – The Avon High crew team had a good fall as the Falcons continued to grow and succeed on the water. 

At the fifth annual New England high school and junior high championship regatta on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester in October, Avon’s novice girls boat finished second out of 20 boats with a time of 13:55.95. Only Community Rowing out of Boston was faster in 13:25.20. 

The novice girls team included coxswain Phoebe Finch and rowers Emily Boswell, Meghan Boswell, Sarah Osiecki, Elena Arias-Camison, Olivia Lazarus, Amanda Branch, Jennifer Wall and Kayla Bucci. Continue Reading

Hamel leads Avon girls to 2nd place finish in NCCC; Canton boys also take 2nd

Avon High senior Molly Hamel has won four dual meets this fall.

Avon High senior Molly Hamel won two NCCC titles at Monday’s league championship meet.

NEW HAVEN, Jan. 19 – A year ago, the Avon High girls indoor track team won all four relay events on the way to their second straight NCCC championship. This winter, the Falcons aren’t as deep. Avon didn’t win a single relay as Stafford beat the Falcons by nine points, 93-84 to win the NCCC championship Monday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High. 

On the boys side, Ellington won three relays and had individual champions in four events to outlast Canton, 135-90 to win its fourth straight NCCC indoor track championship. The Avon boys were eighth in their final NCCC championship appearance. 

For the Avon girls, senior Molly Hamel won two individual titles in the 1,000 meters and 3,200 meters. Canton’s Ian LaClair won the shot while Lucy Tanner successfully defended her championship in the 55 hurdles to lead the Warrior girls to a ninth place finish. 

In the girls race, Stafford had a solid effort across the board to win the NCCC championship. The Bulldogs won the 4×200 relay and had individual winners in four events. Continue Reading

Power 10 grows to serve crew and fitness community

Gwen Valencis, third from the left, leads an adult fitness class in the studio at the Power10 indoor rowing center in Avon.

Gwen Valencis, third from the left, leads an adult fitness class in the studio at the Power 10 indoor rowing center in Avon.

It began simply as a search for space for the athletes on the Avon High crew team to practice in the winter. It has blossomed into a business that is helping crew athletes across the state and is helping the general public get into and stay in shape.

Power 10, an indoor rowing center in Avon, is celebrating its first anniversary this month. In just one year, they have grown into Connecticut’s first dedicated indoor rowing center. Not only do they offer specialized equipment for rowers to remain in shape and refine their stroke but Power 10 offers fitness classes for everyone.

Using its collection of ergs – an indoor rowing machine, Power 10 offers a low impact, full body workout in a 45-minute sessions in its indoor rowing studio.

“Every individual who walks in here walks in for a different reason,” said Gwen Valencis, a coach and fitness instructor at Power 10. “Most people want to feel good, feel better, feel more flexible and have more joint mobility. With these workouts, they can feel the results.”Continue Reading

Avon finishes strong to beat Farmington grapplers for first time since 2010

Avon celebrates as Avon Marvin Escobar pins Farmington's Steven Perfito to clinch the victory for the Falcons.

Avon celebrates as Avon’s Marvin Escobar pins Farmington’s Steven Perfito at 195 pounds to clinch Friday night’s wrestling match for the Falcons.

AVON, Jan. 16 – The last three seasons have been outstanding for the Farmington High wrestling team. They won a CCC West championship in 2013 and finished second in 2012 and 2014. They’ve finished third twice in Class L and have won 83 of 88 dual meets. 

Three of those wins came against Avon. On Friday night, Avon won four of the final five bouts of the evening and had two pins in the last two bouts of the match to pull away from Farmington, 41-28. The Falcons (12-2) also beat Terryville, 45-28. 

Avon had an early 15-point lead before Farmington came back to tie and take the lead. Farmington (8-2) cut the Falcon lead to one, 29-28, with two matches remaining after Samuel Grabowski-Clark pinned Avon’s Justin Nastri at 182 pounds. 

At 195 pounds, Farmington’s Steven Perfito had a 5-1 lead after one period thanks to a pair of two-point takedowns. But Avon’s Marvin Escobar, a first-year wrestler, wouldn’t give in. He kept wrestling and caught Perfito with a headlock and pinned him with 2:22 gone in the match to clinch the bout for the Falcons. His pin gave Avon a seven-point lead with one match remaining. Continue Reading

Avon, Canton athletes earn All-State and All-NCCC honors in the fall season

The Avon High boys soccer team celebrates after earning a piece of the Class L state championship in November.

The Avon High boys soccer team celebrates after earning a piece of the Class L state championship in November.

Several athletes from Avon and Canton earned All-NCCC and All-State honors for their play during the fall season. 

Six Canton High athletes and five Avon High athletes earned All-State honors. Avon’s Stephen Dorney, a 6-foot-4 defender on the Avon boys soccer team, was recognized with All-New England and All-American honors as well. Continue Reading

Students share their love for basketball together

Avon High's Alex Zacchio, left, and classmate Alex Ryan talk basketball prior to Saturday's For the Love of the Game contest at the high school.

Avon High’s Alex Zacchio, left, and classmate Alex Ryan talk basketball prior to Saturday’s For the Love of the Game contest at the high school.

AVON, Jan. 10 – Outside the Avon High gym, it was a chilly Saturday afternoon. But it was warm and glowing inside the Falcon gymnasium.

For the second year, the Avon High boys basketball team hosted a “For the Love of the Game” contest with fellow students who are physically or intellectually challenged.

Players and students shared their love for basketball, working out and trying to improve their games. They played three quarters of basketball. The score was tied but no one really noticed. Dozens of fans in the stands cheered for the hustle, good plays and hustle shown by players and students. There were plenty of big smiles on and off the court.Continue Reading