Despite best-ever time in the 100, Kennedy misses out on final at Olympic trials

Avon's Madison Kennedy in her SwimMAC Carolina gear.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy

Avon swimmer Madison Kennedy swam the two fastest times of her career in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials Thursday here in Omaha, Nebraska.

But it wasn’t good enough to get her in Friday night’s final. Kennedy finished ninth with a career-best time of 54.18 seconds but only the top eight can swim in the final. The top two in the 100 free earn spots on the U.S. Olympic team while the next four finishers will probably earn spots on the 4×100 relay team.

Kennedy finished 0.11 of a second behind Allison Schmitt for eighth place and is the first alternate should someone scratch (withdraw from the race).

The broadcast crew from NBC speculated after the semifinals that Katey Leducky, 19, might scratch from the final to prepare for the 800 meter freestyle, an event in which she holds the world record. However, the Washington Post reported that a USA Swimming official confirmed that Leducky would swim in the final.Continue Reading

Avon Legion rallies in seventh to tie and beats Winsted in eight for 11th victory

Justin Olson, second from the right, gets sprayed with water from his American Legion teammates after his single in the eighth inning helped Avon beat Winsted Thursday night.

Justin Olson, second from the right, gets sprayed with water from his American Legion teammates after his single in the eighth inning helped Avon beat Winsted Thursday night.

AVON, June 30 – Less than 24 hours ago, the Avon American Legion team allowed four unearned runs in a one-run loss to Terryville. On Thursday night, Post 201 gave up a three-run lead to Winsted.

But Avon didn’t wilt. They scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a wild pitch to send the game into extra innings. And in the eighth inning, Justin Olson rapped a shot past the second baseman and into right field to give Avon an exciting 6-5 win over Winsted in Zone 1 action.

Avon led by three runs after one inning, 4-1. But Winsted scored four runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a one-run lead, 5-4.Continue Reading

Errors cost Avon Legion in Zone 1 loss to Terryville, 5-3

Avon's Connor Harris pitched five strong innings but didn't get a decision in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Terryville.

Avon’s Connor Harris pitched five strong innings but didn’t get a decision in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Terryville.

AVON, June 29 – Two costly errors led to four Terryville runs and Post 20 was able to snap Avon’s four-game winning streak with a 5-3 decision in American Legion baseball action Wednesday night at Buckingham Field. Avon (10-3, 10-3 Zone 1) gave up just one earned run in the game.

Terryville pitcher Connor Levins got the job done, going the distance. He pitched seven innings for Terryville (6-9, 6-9 Zone 1) and allowed just four hits. He didn’t strike out a single batter but gave up just one walk. Behind him, his Post 20 teammates made just one error.

Avon took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Ryan Ollestad doubled to center field and scored on Joe Suski’s RBI single to right field. Terryville tied the game in the fifth inning. John Grimes reached base on an error and scored later in the inning on a RBI single by Steve Carrier to center field.Continue Reading

With 10 hits, hard-hitting Crushers top Burlington for second win of season

Canton's Jake Bryant was 2-for-2 with a triple and single Sunday against Bethlehem.

Canton’s Jake Bryant was 3-for-4 with two doubles in Sunday’s win over Burlington.

BURLINGTON, June 26 – The Canton Crushers exploded for four runs in the fourth and sixth innings to pull away from the Burlington Hunters with a 9-3 Tri-State League victory Sunday at Lewis Mills High.

Canton won their second game of the season with a 10-hit attack led by second baseman Jake Bryant, who was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Shortstop Heath Cotton was 2-for-4 with two doubles for the Crushers, now 2-8. Chris Van deBogart had two hits while Jeff Mulhall and Tom Dubois each had singles.

Winning pitcher Jim Spirito (1-3) went the distance on the mound, allowing five hits and striking out one.Continue Reading

Late rally give Canton a split in doubleheader with Bombers

Softball graphicCANTON, June 26 – Pitcher Anne Pitkin scattered six hits and struck out eight and Canton rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to beat the Connecticut Bombers from Mansfield Center, 8-4, in the second game of a Connecticut Women’s Softball League doubleheader Sunday at Canton High.

The Bombers (1-5) handed Canton (5-1) their first loss of the season in the early game with a 10-1 victory in five innings.

In the nightcap the game was tied at 2-2 before Canton took the lead in the third inning on a RBI single from Nicole Batan. The Bombers tied up the game in the fourth and it went into extra innings.Continue Reading

Avon’s Kennedy set to swim at Olympic Trials this week in 50, 100 freestyle

Avon's Madison Kennedy will be swimming at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska beginning Thursday.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy will be swimming at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska beginning Thursday. (Photo courtesy SwimMAC Carolina)

Later this week, Avon’s Madison Kennedy will be swimming at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, in search of a spot in the U.S. Olympic swimming team.

It’s tough competition. These are international-level swimmers. Some have raced in the Olympics before. Others have raced at the world championships. Only the top two swimmers in each event qualify to represent the United States. The top six in the 100 freestyle and 400 freestyle get named to the U.S. team to swim on the relays.

Kennedy, a 2005 graduate from Avon High, is the top seed in the 50-meter women’s freestyle and is ranked among the top 15 in the 100-meter freestyle.Continue Reading

Avon’s Avery finishes sixth at New England championships

Golf ballAvon High golfer Jake Avery finished tied for sixth at the recent New England high school golf championships at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, N.H., with a 74. Avery finished behind New England champion Mark Turner of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Mass., with a 70 and four other players with a 73.

Avery is the first Avon boy to play in the New England championship in golf. He was the third golfer from Connecticut in the field behind Portland’s Nick Piersall and Xavier’s Chris Fosdick, who each finished with a 72.

Avery qualified for the New England championships with his third place finish at the recent CIAC Division II championships at Timberline in Berlin. Avery shot a three-over-par 75 to finish third in the field. The top three finishers in Division I, II, III and IV earned trips to the New England tournament.Continue Reading

Dogs pull away from Crushers in 10-6 win

Baseball ImageNAUGATUCK, June 21 – The Naugatuck Dogs scored eight runs in the fifth and sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Canton Crushers, 10-6 in Tri-State League play Tuesday night at Rotary Field.

The Dogs, currently in second place in the league with a 9-1 record, took advantage of five walks, a hit batter and two Canton errors in the fifth and sixth innings. Jeff Strum had two hits, an RBI and scored three runs for Naugatuck while Sean Miller-Jones was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.Continue Reading

Canton entry in CT Women’s Softball League is undefeated at 4-0

Softball graphicCANTON, June 19 – Canton improved to 4-0 with a pair of forfeit wins over Rocky Hill Sunday in Canton in the Connecticut Women’s Softball League play. Rocky Hill didn’t have enough players to field their team.

Canton began their 2016 campaign by sweeping a doubleheader from West Hartford on June 12 with a 10-0 victory in five innings and 6-1 decision.

Canton hurler Chelsea Eckert threw a five-inning no-hitter in the season opener, striking out eight West Hartford batters and walking just two. Canton had 10 hits in the opener led by Amanda Massad, who was 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Savannah Thibault was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI. Loren Rozanski also had two hits for Canton.Continue Reading

RHAM to join Avon in CCC Division 3 East this fall, Enfield moves up to Division I

Nick Schuster and Geoff Kirk make a stop in Tuesday's Valley Gridiron Classic. The Falcons need help in five games Thursday to have their season continue.

The 2016 edition of the Valley Gridiron Classic between Avon and SImsbury will be in Avon on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

As the Avon High football team gets ready for year two in the Central Connecticut Conference, they will have a new team in the CCC Division III Eastern Division — RHAM High from Hebron.

With the merger of Enfield and Fermi High, there will be a slight adjustment in the six Central Connecticut Conference divisions in 2016.

Enfield, which has played in the Pequot Conference for the past six years, will be playing with the big boys in Division I. The Raiders will be in the Division I Eastern Division with East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester and the Bulkeley/Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy/Weaver co-op team. Fermi was in Division III East a year ago.

Hartford Public slides down from Division I into Division II East with E.O. Smith, Farmington, Middletown, South Windsor and Windsor.Continue Reading

Is Avon native Madison Kennedy on the cusp of a berth on the Olympic team?

Eric Lane, left, and U.S. Olympic team hopeful Madison Kennedy. Eric is Madison's strength coach and the two are engaged to be married in 2017. (Photo by Mark Hames, Charlotte Observer)

Eric Lane, left, and U.S. Olympic team hopeful Madison Kennedy. Eric is Madison’s strength coach and the two are engaged to be married in 2017. (Photo by Mark Hames, Charlotte Observer)

In about two weeks, Avon native Madison Kennedy will be competing at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska for the third time. In 2008, she was thrilled simply to be there. Four years ago in 2012, she swam her best times (to that point in her career) in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle and just fell short. She was 0.38 seconds away from a berth in the 50 free.

This time, Kennedy will be among the favorites in the 50 freestyle and a contender in the 100 freestyle to make the U.S. Olympic team. Her career-best time of 24.45 seconds in the 50 freestyle at the Arena Pro Series meet in Mesa, Arizona, in March is the seventh best time in the world this year and the top American performance in the 50 free this season.

Kennedy, a 2005 Avon High graduate, showed that her Mesa performance wasn’t a fluke by swimming 24.53 in the 50 free, at the next Arena Pro Series meet a month later in Charlotte.

Is Kennedy on the cusp of an Olympic team berth?

In a long feature story earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer took a look at the way Kennedy is preparing for the Olympics. She has been a member of SwimMAC Carolina’s Team Elite in Charlotte since 2011 under the tutelage of David Marsh, this year’s U.S. Olympic swimming coach. But the two haven’t always seen eye-to-eye regarding her training methods.Continue Reading

Avon’s Carpino takes 12th in heptahlon; Solomon finishes 14th in decathlon

Avon's Carly Carpino finished 12th in the CIAC heptathlon Tuesday in New Britain.

Avon’s Carly Carpino finished 12th in the CIAC heptathlon Tuesday in New Britain.

NEW BRITAIN, June 14 – Avon High sophomore Carly Carpino made history Tuesday at the CIAC decathlon and heptahlon at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

Carpino is believed to be the first Avon girl to complete the CIAC heptahlon and finished 12th with a school record total of 3,367 points. Carpino finished day 1 with a fifth place finish in the 200 meters. On Tuesday, she took fifth in the long jump and javelin to move into the top 15.

In the decathlon, Canton’s John Solomon finished 14th while teammate Cameron Lange was 16th. Dustin Van Kirk had a good day until he sprained his ankle in the pole vault and couldn’t complete the decathlon.Continue Reading

Pequot Conference realigns for third time in four years

Canton senior Matt Bangs carries the ball in Wednesday night's Pequot West Division game in Granby.

Canton and Granby will renew their rivalry on the gridiron on Thanksgiving morning when they play for the old, red milk jug in Canton.

With the departure of the Hyde co-op football team to the Southern Connecticut Conference and Enfield to the Central Connecticut Conference, the Pequot Football Conference has realigned its divisions for the third time in the last four years.

With 17 teams, the Pequot Conference will have four divisions in 2016. Three of the divisions will have four teams each while one will have five teams. A year ago, the league had three divisions of six teams each with Enfield playing as an independent team within the league.

Canton will be playing in the Pequot Uncas West Division with Lewis Mills, Gilbert/Northwestern and Nonnewaug. A year ago, those four teams were in the Western Division with Granby, who moves to the Pequot Uncas East Division.Continue Reading

Three Canton athletes in top 15 after day 1 of decathlon; Carpino 12th in heptathlon

Canton's John Solomon won three events to help the Warriors extend its long dual meet winning streak to 70 in a row Tuesday in Canton.

Canton’s John Solomon tied for third place in the high jump with teammate Cameron Lange at the CIAC decathlon Monday in New Britain. Solomon is 12th after day one.

NEW BRITAIN, June 13 – Canton’s John Solomon, Dustin Van Kirk and Cameron Lange are each in the top 15 of the CIAC decathlon after day one of competition at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in New Britain.

Solomon and Lange each tied for third place in the high jump at 5-foot 10 to gain 610 points. They finished behind Manchester’s Phillip Quaye and Coventry’s Nicholas Pronovost, who each leaped 6 feet.

Solomon is in 12th place at the half way point of the decathlon with 2,783 points with Van Kirk in 13th place with 2,752 and Lange in 15th place with 2,736 points.Continue Reading

Liucci finishes second in CWGA championship

Mackenzie Hawkes, right, won the CWGA title with a win over Canton's Nikki Liucci.

Mackenzie Hawkes, right, won the CWGA title with a win over Canton’s Nikki Liucci.

REDDING, June 10 – Canton’s Nikki Liucci was second in qualifying and won three matches at the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association’s championship tournament before falling to two-time defending champion MacKenzie Hawkes in the finals Friday, 4-and-3.

For Hawkes, who plays out of the Madison Golf Club, it was her third consecutive CWGA championship. Liucci, who earned All-ECAC Tournament honors last fall with a school record low round of 75, graduated from St. Francis-Brooklyn this spring.Continue Reading