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Preview: Canton teams prepare for spring play

CANTON, March 31  – Canton High softball coach Doug Clements has high hopes for the Warriors this season in terms of contending for a league championship and a Class S state championship.

Eight on nine starters from last year’s team that went 16-4 return include junior pitcher Mo Gauthier, senior catcher Jess Schroeder and junior infielder Melissa Parente, who each earned All-NCCC honors last spring. The three hitters combined for 15 home runs while Schroeder belting six and Gauthier hitting five. Parente had four. Clements added two non-league games with New Britain to the schedule to challenge the Warriors.

BASEBALL: Seven players return for the Canton High baseball team (10-9) including four juniors who will start for the third year. Catcher Tyler Plourd, pitcher/outfielder Brian Magna, pitcher/outfielder Kyle Beattie and pitcher/infielder Travis Lane broke into the starting lineup as freshmen and will be on the field this spring for coach Brian Roy.
Outfielder Chris Melite and first baseman Aaron Deaver are the only two seniors on the team.

GIRLS GOLF: Canton’s top four players all return from the squad that won the Southern Connecticut Girls Golf League championship last spring. Senior Tessa Newell, junior Sarah Getz, sophomore Megan Roux and junior Kelly McAlindin each return for coach John Manners. McAlindin earned first team All-League honors. Canton (11-5, 7-3 SCGGL) finished 12th in the CIAC Tournament.

BOYS GOLF: Junior Ryan Allen, an All-State selection who was the first Canton golfer to win an individual NCCC championship, returns for the Warriors (8-9-1, 6-5-1 NCCC). Juniors Brad Parliament, James Solomon and Jon Phelps return for Canton, which qualified for the CIAC Division IV tournament for the first time since 2000, finishing 11th – its best finish in at least 25 years. Sophomore Dave Roux looks to make a positive impact on the team.

TENNIS: All-NCCC singles player Kelly Howland graduated but the Canton girls tennis team (10-8, 10-7 NCCC) return a solid team that coach Jerry Havrl thinks can be competitive with anyone this year. Senior Anne Rhea looks to move into the No. 1 singles spot with juniors Maggie Bahre and Mary Beth Davis, a successful doubles team a year ago, looking to take two spots in singles.

Sixteen girls are out for the squad including a nice mix of veterans and youngsters. On the boys side, the Warriors are looking to build on an 8-6 record and a fourth place finish in the league.

TRACK AND FIELD: Canton looks to build on a successful indoor track campaign with some solid performances this spring. Senior Erik Nystrom, who won the Class S title in the 3,200 meters in indoor track, is out for the team along with seniors Chris Hyde, Dyan Petruskevicius and Nate Scull along with junior veterans Mike LeDuc, James Rosshirt and Connor Smyth, who set new school records in the javelin and triple jump last year.

On the girls side, senior Katie Bussiere, junior Lucy Mentzer and sophomore Tyisha Alexander lead up the Canton girls. Bussiere set a new school record in the 800 meters last year while Alexander set a new school mark in the long jump.

GIRLS LACROSSE: Canton will field a junior varsity team for the second year.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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