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Canton runners finally get past Avon

AVON, Sept. 27 – Over the last four years, the Avon High boys cross country team has tormented Canton. A year ago, the Falcons escaped with a 27-28 victory. In 2007, Avon beat Canton by five points and in 2005, they won by four.

Not this year. Undefeated Canton grabbed four of the top five places to beat the Falcons, 19-38 at Fisher Meadow. All-New England runner Brian Magna won his second race of the year, nipping senior teammate Mike LeDuc by three seconds with a winning time of 16:45.

Chris Carlson finished third for Avon but Canton (5-0, 5-0 NCCC) grabbed the next two spots to cement the victory. Kevin Kurnat took fourth while Jon Cahill finished fifth.

“Avon didn’t get out as fast as they normally do and it allowed our kids to stick around,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. The Falcons looked like they might pull away at the two-mile mark but the Warriors surged to to the finish. “It was nice to finally beat Avon after all of these recent close losses.”

It was Canton’s 10th win over Avon since 1993 compared to six defeats.

O’Donnell knows his team has the potential to do well. Instead of racing in the Small School division of the annual Stratton Brook Invitational in Simsbury on Saturday, O’Donnell entered his team in the Large Division.

Perennial Class LL and State Open champion Xavier won the meet with 47 points but Canton had an impressive second place finish with 94 points, good enough to finish ahead of Bristol Central (97 points), Manchester (108) and host Simsbury.

Hall senior Michael Conway won the race in 16:16 but LeDuc was among the leaders, finishing fifth in 16:59. Magna took seventh in 17:05.

Kevin Kurnat was 13th in 17:20 while sophomore Jon Cahill finished 31st in 18:16 and junior Evan Camporeale finished 38th in 18:35. It was Canton’s best finish at the event since winning the Small Division title in 2005.

WARRIOR NOTES: Lucy Mentzer scored her second goal of the season Friday but it wasn’t enough as Somers beat the Canton girls soccer team for the second straight game, 3-1. … Katherine Ich had the lone goal for the Canton field hockey team as Granby slipped past the Warriors for the fifth straight time, 2-1. Canton’s last win over the Bears came in 2006. … Canton’s Laura Mack will be inducted in Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame on Oct. 4. Mack, who graduated in 2000, led Canton to three straight Class S championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999. A two-time regional All-American selection, she scored 64 goals and had 56 assists in her career.

Boys cross country
Canton 19, Avon 38
Canton 15, Stafford 50
Avon 15, Stafford 50
At Avon
1. Brian Magna (C) 16:45 for 3.1 miles at Fisher Meadows, Avon, 2. Mike LeDuc (C) 16:48, 3. Chris Carlson (A) 17:01, 4. Kevin Kurnat (C) 17:16, 5. Jon Cahill (C) 18:02, 6. Robert Coyle (A) 18:20, 7. E. Camporeale (C) 18:30, 8. Bobbie Davies (A) 18:35, 9. Neil Furtney (C) 18:39; 10. J. Kuhn (A) 18:40
Records: Canton 5-0, Avon 2-1, Stafford 1-4

Girls cross country
Avon 16, Canton 44
Avon 15, Stafford 49
Canton def. Stafford
At Avon
1. Claire Smith (A) 19:53 for 3.1 miles at Fisher Meadows, Avon; 2. Titi VanRiel (A) 21:44, 3. Emily Kelly (A) 21:51, 4. Kelly Veldman (A) 22:10, 5. Deanna Nappi (C) 23:01; 6. Tara Molson (A) 23:12; 7. Kate Asklof (C) 23:35, 8. K. Volinsky (A) 24:04; 9. J. Chance (C) 24:27; 10. A. Byne (S) 24:41

Records: Avon 3-0, Canton 1-4, Stafford 1-5

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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