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Opening day: Ellington stuns boys golf team, girls golf routs Cheshire

CANTON –  With the entire squad back and the addition of junior Blaine Houlihan, the expectations this spring for the Canton High boys golf team are high – a possible league championship and a top three finish in Division IV.

But it won’t be easy and Canton found that out on opening day with a one stroke loss to Ellington last week, 176-177 at its home course, Tower Ridge in Simsbury. Matt Ussery had a sparkling 38 to lead the Purple Knights, who finished fifth in Division III last year, while teammate Brad White had a 40.

Canton’s All-State junior Ryan Allen led the Warriors with a 42 while junior Brad Parliament and sophomore Dave Roux each checked in with a 43. Junior Jon Phelps had a 49 while Houlihan had a 50.

“They have high expectations,” Canton coach Bill Phelps said. “They know their ability. We have seven kids who can legitimately shoot in the low 40s (over nine holes) and a few in the high 30s. It is a very competitive team.”

While Bill Phelps believes Canton has a chance to be a contender in the CIAC Division IV tournament, winning a NCCC league championship could be more elusive with Canton competing with Ellington, Granby and Suffield, who all qualified and finished among the top12 in Division III last spring, and Avon, which was tenth in Division II.

GIRLS GOLF: Canton made a statement on opening day with a dominating performance in a 29-stroke victory over Cheshire, a team that finished tenth in the state a year ago. Canton freshman Nikki Liucci had a 45 at Tower Ridge in Simsbury to lead the Warriors (2-0, 1-0 Southern CT Girls Golf League) while junior Kelly McAlindin had a 49 and junior Sarah Getz had a 50. Senior Tessa Newell was fourth for the Warriors with a 52. Canton had a 212, which was five strokes better than Mercy-Middletown (217). Cheshire finished with 241.

TRACK & FIELD: The Canton boys opened the season with pair of victories over Enfield, 90-54, and Stafford, 89-56. David Kucia set a pair of school records with victories in the 110 hurdles (17.2 seconds) and 300 hurdles (47.4). Colin Glasson set a new school record in the shot put with a throw of 42 feet, 6.5 inches.

Ryan Gallagher (400), Erik Nystrom (3,200) and Wesley Nichols-Wright (triple jump) also picked up individual victories for the Warriors (2-0, 2-0 NCCC). Canton’s 4×4 relay team (Dylan Petruskevicious, Connor Smyth, Ryan Gallagher, James Rosshirt) also earned a victory in 3:46.

The Canton girls beat Enfield, 76-64 but narrowly lost to host Stafford, 78-70. Rachel Schwartzmann broke her own school record with a throw of 26 feet, 10 inches to win the shot put while Alaina Casioppo established a new school record with a victory in the triple jump with a leap of 27 feet, 8 inches.

Senior Katie Bussiere and sophomore Tyisha Alexander each won a pair of events. Bussiere swept the 800 and 1,600 meters while Alexanders won the 200 meters and captured the high jump. Camila Rich won the 300 hurdles in 57.5 while the 4×4 relay team of Bussiere, Alessandra Summa, Cheyenne Douglas and Casioppo won in 4:43.0.

SOFTBALL: Canton pitcher Mo Gauthier struck out 12 and threw her first career no-hitter over five innings to lead the Warriors (1-0, 1-0 NCCC) to a 15-0 victory over East Windsor on opening day. Gauthier allowed just one walk in the first inning. It was the first no-hitter for the Warriors since the 2006 season. Canton had 11 hits in the victory.

BASEBALL: Canton hurler Travis Lane scattered five hits and struck out seven to lead the Warriors to a 18-1 victory over East Windsor on opening day. He had just one walk. On the strength of 15 hits, Canton scored 13 runs in the first three innings.

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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