Former Canton athlete hopes to swim English Channel in July

East Granby's Doug Comstock, 60 and a Canton High graduate, will attempt to swim the English Channel in July

East Granby’s Doug Comstock, 60 and a Canton High graduate, will attempt to swim the English Channel in July

It was Father’s Day. Many fathers were spending the day with their families at a barbeque. Some were spending time on the golf course while others were at the beach. Some fathers and their families were at the lake.

Doug Comstock was in the lake – for 12 hours.

Comstock, an East Granby resident and a Canton High graduate, spent Father’s Day at West Hill Pond in New Hartford training for his attempt to swim across the English Channel in July. It was his last big training swim before heading to Europe.

Swimming 21 miles to cross the English Channel from Dover, England to Cape Gris Nez, France, which some folks consider the Mount Everest of open water swimming.

It’s not an easy swim. No wetsuits are allowed. You can’t touch the boat or use the boat to break a path through the open water for you. The water is frequently in the 50s and you have to deal with jellyfish. You are allowed to wear a swim cap and use nose plugs. Most swimmers cover themselves in grease to keep warm, protect themselves as best they can against the jellyfish and to cut through the water.Continue Reading

Casey forces playoff but Watson prevails to win Travelers for 2nd time

CROMWELL, June 28 – Paul Casey surged down the stretch to force a playoff at the 2015 Travelers Championship by erasing a three-stroke deficit in the final five holes. But he couldn’t seal the deal.

For the second time, Bubba Watson won the tournament in playoff. He earned his first PGA Tour victory here in Hartford in 2010. Watson picked up his tenth PGA Tour win Sunday after he sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the Travelers’ Championship. Both men finished the tournament with a 16-under 264 in light rain.

“The week was a great week,” Watson said. “Everything was — my body felt good. My mind was calm.Continue Reading

Harman slips past Watson to take lead at Travelers after three rounds

CROMWELL, June 27 – For the second straight day, Brian Harman shot a 65 to take a one-stroke lead over two-time Master’s champion Bubba Watson and Canadian Graham DeLaet at the Travelers’ Championship at the TPC River Highlands on Saturday. Harman leads the tournament at 14-under par 196 with DeLaet and Watson at 13-under. After a 62 on Thursday, Watson has shot rounds of 67 and 68. DeLaet shot a 64 Saturday with five birdies and an eagle on the 15th hole.

Harman played in some rain Saturday. “I’ve never played particularly well in the rain. But I try to look at today and we got a break. The weather was not as bad as I thought it was going to be,” he said.Continue Reading

First place Canton looks to snap losing streak Sunday vs. Bristol

Canton's Katy Vandeveire drives the ball in last weekend's doubleheader against West Hartford.

Canton’s Katy Vandeveire drives the ball in last weekend’s doubleheader against West Hartford.

CANTON – Defending league champion Canton has won five of its first seven games in the Connecticut Women’s Softball League and is in first place.

Canton (5-2) hosts Bristol (0-5) in a doubleheader on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Canton High – the final game before a two-week break for the July 4 holiday.

Canton won its fifth straight game on Sunday with a 6-3 win over West Hartford in the opening game of a doubleheader. Katie Donovan threw just 70 pitches and went the distance to pick up the victory.  Bella Colletti was 2-for-3 with a double while Amber Batan had a two-RBI double for Canton.Continue Reading

Bristol allows one hit in 7-0 victory over Crushers

Crushers hat small DSC_2821CANTON, June 25 – Chris VandeBogart had a single in the first inning but that was it for the Canton Crushers in a 7-0 loss to the Bristol Greeners in Tri-State League play Thursday night at Bowdoin Field.

Bristol (3-7) pitcher Matt Blandino struck out 10 and walked just three in six innings of work. Shane Fusco pitched a scoreless seventh to close out the game. Brandon Yancik took the loss on the mound for the Crushers. Canton (0-9) returns to the diamond Saturday night when they travel to Fuessenich Park to face the Torrington Rebels at 6:30 p.m. It’s a makeup game from a contest that was previously washed out.

Olson helps Avon Legion snap 2-game losing streak, beating Southington, 3-1

Will Boone (32) and pitcher Justin Olson (2) celebrate a successful inning in Thursday night's 3-1 Zone 1 win over Southington at AOF.

Will Boone (32) and pitcher Justin Olson (2) celebrate a successful inning in Thursday night’s 3-1 Zone 1 win over Southington at AOF.

AVON, June 25 – Two days after dropping a disappointing one-run decision to Unionville on Monday night, the Avon American Legion team battled toe-to-toe with defending Zone 1 champion Simsbury in another outstanding Zone 1 contest between the two teams.

Simsbury hurler Peter Myers struck out eight and allowed just one hit as Post 84 rallied to score twice with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun Avon, 2-1 on Wednesday night at Memorial Field. While it was a tough loss for Avon manager John Ponzani and Post 205 to swallow, Ponzani was pleased with the effort.

“When we lost to Unionville (4-3 in nine innings), we didn’t come to play,” he said. “I was really more focused on showing and playing a great game against Simsbury and we did that. It was frustrating to play that well for 20 outs and let it slip away.”

Avon continued to build on the momentum they established Wednesday. Post 205 snapped a two-game losing streak with a solid 3-1 Zone 1 victory over Southington Thursday night at Avon Old Farms. In six innings of work, Avon pitcher Justin Olson struck out four and scattered three hits. He was also 2-for-3 with a double for Post 205.Continue Reading

Defense is helping surprising Sun (6-1), who host Los Angeles on Friday night

Alex Bentley and the surprising Connecticut Sun (6-1) return home to open a three-game home stand Friday against Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy Connecticut Sun)

Alex Bentley and the surprising Connecticut Sun (6-1) return home to open a three-game home stand Friday against Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy Connecticut Sun)

Opening Day is supposed to be the dawn of a new season, a time for hope and optimism. For many fans of the Connecticut Sun, it was a time of challenges.

A year ago, the Sun went 13-21 – its second-worst season since moving to Connecticut from Orlando nearly a decade ago. In 2013, the Sun were worse – 10-24.

When the Sun took the floor for the season opening game earlier this month against the Washington Mystics at the Mohegan Sun Arena, they were without four key players from last year’s squad.

Gone from the team was former All-Star Katie Douglas, who retired with a bad back; last year’s Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery in January, veteran guard Allison Hightower, who was selected to the WNBA All-Star Game last summer but injured her knee in the offseason, and veteran forward Kelsey Griffin, who hurt her hip in training camp and was waived.

Yet, Sun head coach Anne Donovan and her team remained positive. They’ve played hard and enter Friday night’s game at the Mohegan Sun Arena with a surprising 6-1 record, good enough for first place in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. After losing to Washington on opening night, 73-68, the Sun have won six straight games. Tonight, they’ll face the winless Los Angeles Sparks (0-5) beginning at 7 p.m.Continue Reading

Fan of Avon High athletics remembered by parents, coaches, students

A new bench has been installed at Avon High that will allow athletes a place to sit while they wait to get picked up from after-school activities.

A new bench has been installed at Avon High that will allow athletes a place to sit while they wait to get picked up from after-school activities.

AVON – Athletes and fans are remembering the late Matthew White, a driver who became a much-loved supporter of Avon High athletics. White, 44, passed away on February 25 after a brief illness. But he made an impact.

White was a familiar face at Avon High swim meetings, wrestling matches and soccer games. As the bus driver who safely drove the athletes to and from their events, he saw plenty of Falcon contests and he became a big fan.
“Matt was special, “ Avon High swimming coach Diana Cesaro said. “He cheered the kids on and was truly part of the team.  From the outpouring of notes and donations I’ve received, it’s clear that Matt was very much loved and respected.”
Coaches, athletes and parents felt compelled to honor him in a special way and, earlier this month, they got the chance.

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Players from Avon, Canton girls lax teams earn Academic All-American honors

Avon's Hannah Davey (7) had seven of Avon's 11 goals in the season-opening win over Canton Wednesday.

Avon’s Hannah Davey (7) was one of 10 girls from Canton and Avon to earn Academic All-American honors from USA Lacrosse.

Five Avon High and five Canton High girls lacrosse players have earned 2015 Academic All-American honors from USA Lacrosse. The ten players had a grade point average of at least 3.6 out of 4.0, are exceptional lacrosse players and make significant contributions of service to the school and/or community. 

Canton’s Carly Atkinson (defense), Emma Charron (midfielder), Sarah First (defense), Devon Daubert (midfield) and Hannah Bonini (attack) were named Academic All-American along with Avon’s Hannah Davey (midfield), Angela Marinello (goalie), Jessica Woodis (defense), Megan Foley (defense) and Emily Stross (defense). Continue Reading

Kennedy has a pair of top 10 finishes in Arena finale in Santa Clara

Madison Kennedy

Madison Kennedy

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 21 – Avon swimmer Madison Kennedy had a pair of top 10 finishes at the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara this weekend. Kennedy took fourth in her signature event, the 50-meter freestyle, and was seventh in the 100 meter freestyle.

Kennedy, 27, who was seeded eighth in the 50 freestyle, finished fourth with a time of 25.13 behind Stanford’s 18-year-old Simone Manuel, the Netherland’s Femke Heemskerk and U.S. teammate Natalie Coughlin. Kennedy also finished fourth in qualifying with a time of 25.38.

In the 100 freestyle, Kennedy was seeded 28th in the field but finished seventh in qualifying with a time of 55.67 seconds. In the championship final, Kennedy finished with a time of 55.59. Heemskerk pulled away in the second 50 meters to win by nearly a second with a time of 53.64 seconds.Continue Reading

Avon’s Carpino earns two top 20 finishes at national meet in North Carolina

Avon High freshman Carly Carpino

Avon High freshman Carly Carpino

GREENSBORO, N.C., June 20 – Avon High freshman Carly Carpino finished in the top 20 in two events at the New Balance outdoor national track and field championship event this weekend.

Carpino finished 16th out of 43 in the freshman long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 10½ inches. It is the fifth-best jump of her young career. The winning jump was over 18 feet.

In the freshman triple jump, Carpino finished 19th out of 66 competitors with a leap of 34 feet and a quarter inch. It was her second-best jump of her career in the event. She jumped a school record 34 feet, 9¾ inches and won the league triple jump title at the NCCC championship meet.

Kennedy thrilled to be swimming in Santa Clara this weekend

Madison Kennedy before the 50 freestyle final. (Courtesy U.S. Swimming)

Madison Kennedy (Courtesy U.S. Swimming)

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 18 – Swimmer Madison Kennedy is thrilled about this weekend’s Arena Pro Series swim meet in Santa Clara. She gets to visit California, reunite with many of her friends in the swimming community and hit the pool.

It’s been a challenging spring for the 27-year-old from Avon. In February, she dislocated her shoulder working out. It’s slowed down progress toward her goal of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team and swimming in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil in August 2016.

Kennedy will be competing in the 50 meter freestyle on Saturday and in the 100 freestyle on Sunday. She is the eighth seed in the 50 free with a time of 25.03 seconds and 28th in the 100 free with a seed time of 56.05 seconds.

“I’m excited to swim,” she said from her Charlotte, North Carolina home before flying across the country. “I’ve never really had an injury (as a swimmer). It wasn’t just the pain. The arm wasn’t working. It was annoying for a while. The nerves don’t play around. They just shut down.”Continue Reading

Thomaston remains one step ahead of Crushers in 7-3 decision

Canton's Jim Spirito had a RBI double Thursday against Thomaston.

Canton’s Jim Spirito had a RBI double Thursday against Thomaston.

CANTON, June 18 – Thomaston’s quick start enabled the Threshers to win their fourth game of the season Thursday afternoon with a 7-3 Tri-State League victory over the Canton Crushers at Bowdoin Field.  

Thomaston took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double from Will Sirotnak and never trailed. Thresher hurler Ramon Santiago went the distance, earning the win with six strikeouts. He allowed just two earned runs and two hits.

For Canton, now 0-8, pitcher Jimmy Spirito had a RBI double and Kasey Keating had a two-RBI single. Keating’s double in the fifth scored Chad Huff and Jeff Mulhall. After Muneen Alam reached on an error in the sixth inning, he scored on Spirito’s double. Continue Reading

Friends celebrate a life and raise funds to help raise awareness of depresssion

Dozens of former Avon High lacrosse players came together to Play for Kurt recently at Buckingham.

Dozens of former Avon High lacrosse players came together in remembrance of the late Kurt Skelley recently at Buckingham. (Elaine Nord photo)

AVON, June 6 – Close to 150 former Avon High lacrosse players, family, friends and former teammates of the late Kurt Skelley gathered at Buckingham Field earlier this month to celebrate the life of their teammate.

Kurt Skelly playing for the Avon High boys lacrosse team in 2011. (Photo courtesy Elaine Nord)

Kurt Skelley playing for the Avon High in 2011. (Photo courtesy Elaine Nord)

Skelley, who graduated from Avon High in 2011, took his own life a little over a year ago in 2014 after struggling with a major depressive disorder.

Two of Skelley’s former teammates Will Paton and Ian Mack thought the annual Avon High alumni lacrosse game would be a perfect venue to raise funds for the Kurtis R. Skelley Memorial Fund, which raises awareness of depression.

The game was a big success. Nearly $2,000 was raised. The game provided the means of re-connecting, not just for the players but for everyone who attended. The energy level was high, yet there was a solemnness. After the game, Lisa Ludwig, Kurt’s mother, provided an emotional and poignant message.Continue Reading

Canton’s Daley takes third with record-breaking decathlon performance

Canton's Cam Daley was fifth in the javelin as the CIAC decathlon Wednesday. Daley set a school record with 5,725 points and finished third.

Canton’s Cam Daley was fifth in the javelin as the CIAC decathlon Wednesday. Daley set a school record with 5,725 points and finished third.

NEW BRITAIN, June 17 – Canton senior Cam Daley began competing in the decathlon four years ago as a freshman. He quickly learned that he couldn’t dwell on a poor or a disappointing performance because there was always another event to complete in.

“There is a clean slate in every event,” Daley said. “It’s real important to put (the previous event) behind you. You can’t dwell on it. You have to move on to the next one.”

Daley’s ability to move on served him well as a member of Canton’s football and basketball teams in his scholastic career. “Just because you make a turnover on one play doesn’t mean you can force a turnover on the following play,” he said.

Daley’s ability to remain focused on the job at hand helped him set a new school record by taking third in the CIAC decathlon Wednesday. Daley finished in the top 10 in seven of 10 events and finished with 5,725 points.

“I’m happy,” he said. “I wanted to beat what I had done in the previous year and get over 5,700 points. There just happened to be two guys that scored more than that.”Continue Reading