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Avon girls holds off Suffield to win NCCC championship

The Avon High girls cross country team celebrates winning the NCCC championship.

Falcon runners pick up crucial wins to capture crown

WINDSOR LOCKS, Oct. 21 – Two weeks earlier in their only dual meet meeting of the season, the Avon High girls cross country team had nipped Suffield High by just one point – the closest challenge they had in an undefeated 13-0 campaign.

In the NCCC championship meet, it came down to Avon and Suffield, again.

In head-to-head battles, four Avon runners beat their Suffield counterparts to help the Falcons win the league championship meet, 36-59 and clinch their first North Central Connecticut Conference crown since 2009.

The Falcons had four runners among the first 11 runners and five among the top 16. Suffield had five runners among the top 17.

Avon sophomore Rachael Rosow finished second for the second year in a row behind Coventry’s sensational freshman Ellie Jean. Teammates Sara Stokesbury took third. Freshman Molly Hamel was seventh and junior Katie McIntyre was 11th. Sophomore Madison Zapatka finished 16th.

Stokebury ran side by side with Suffield’s Elizabeth Rigby for virtually the entire race before pulling away in the last half mile to beat her by nine seconds. Hamel beat Suffield’s Monique LaBarre by nine seconds and McIntyre pulled away from Suffield’s Hannah Gardocki by 11 seconds.

Suffield’s Kate Ravenola beat Zapatka by seven seconds to claim 15th place but Zapatka was able to beat Suffield’s fifth runner, Gabrielle Rucsyzk by eight seconds.

“They were amazing,” Avon coach Al Daddario said. “I was a little bit apprehensive but they performed the best they could. They are a tremendous bunch of kids. They work hard. They train hard and I couldn’t be more happy with how they performed.”

Avon shared a league title with Granby and Suffield in 2009 but this is their first outright championship since 2005.

“This is great. I’ve never really been part of a winning team before. We have so many talented runners on this team,” Rosow said. “I’m excited for the years to come.”

As a freshman, Rosow led the NCCC meet for virtually the entire way before Ellington’s Jennifer Hulstein caught her in the final half mile. This year, it was Rosow who was trying to stay with Jean, a national caliber soccer player. Jean was one of 72 players at the U.S. national team’s Under 14 training camp in Portland in September and will be a contender for a spot on the U.S. Under-15 national team next spring.

Rosow ran with Jean for the first mile before Jean began to pull away to win in 19:04, the second fastest time in league history. “My goal was to hang on and give it everything I had,” Rosow said. “I hung on for as far as I could.”

Granby finished fifth in the meet with three All-NCCC runners. The top 15 finishers earned all-conference honors. Ashley Piccirillo finished sixth (20:10), Alexa Cipka took ninth (20:32) and Stephanie Dantos was 14th.

Canton finished sixth in the meet and was led by Emma Frawley (26th) and Emily Coleman (28).

Avon now turns it attention to the Class MM championship meet on Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester. The Falcons will be a contender for the state title but Guilford looms at a formidable challenger. The senior-dominated Indians won the Southern Connecticut Conference title over the weekend.

NOTEABLE: The league record is held by Avon’s Claire Smith, who ran a 18:53 to win the 2009 league championship. … The girls varsity race had a false start nearing a minute into the race. After running about 250 yards, the lead pack went to the left of a storage shed instead of to the right and the entire field followed. Race starter Tim O’Donnell fired the gun and brought all of the runners back. And a few minutes later, they began again, repeating the opening sprint of the race. … Avon’s championship was its sixth NCCC title. The Falcons previously won in 1985-87, 2005 and 2009. Avon also won three Northwest Conference titles from 1982 to 1984.

Collinsville Press, Oct. 21: Suffield too much for Canton in NCCC boys cross country team

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
NCCC championships
At Windsor Locks
Team results – 1. Avon 39, 2. Suffield 56, 3. Bolton 100, 4. Ellington 100, 5. Granby 108, 6. Canton 161, 7. Coventry 204, 8. East Granby 235, 9. Stafford 239, 10. Somers 275, 11. Enfield 311. No team score – Windsor Locks, East Windsor, Sport Medicine and Science Academy
Individual results
1. Ellie Jean, Coventry, 19:04 for 3.1 miles at Windsor Locks, 2. Rachael Rosow, Avon 19:34, 3. Sara Stokesbury, Avon, 19:44, 4. Elizabeth Rigby, Suffield 19:54, 5. Samantha Nyser, Bolton, 20:09, 6. Ashley Piccirillo, Granby 20:10, 7. Molly Hamel, Avon, 20:12, 8. Monique Labarre, Suffield, 20:21, 9. Alexa Cipka, Granby, 20:32, 10. Kayla Sgarlata, Ellington, 20:34, 11. Katie McIntyre, Avon, 21:06, 12. Hannah Gardocki, Suffield 20:59, 13. Josie Gerber, Ellington, 20:34, 14. Stephanie Dantos, Granby 20:58, 15. Katie Ravenola, Suffield, 20:59

Other Avon runners: 16. Madison Zapatka 21:06, 23. Emily Hebb 22:12, 29. Julia deSimas 22:40.
Canton runners: 26. Emma Frawley 22:32, 28. Emily Coleman 22:38, 30. Leigh Ann Rossitto 22:44, 34. Rose Minichello 23:17, 43. Meghan Casey 24:16, 46. Eliza Chekas 24:29, 50. Miranda Fitzpatrick 24:58

Final league standings.
Teams earn 1 point for each dual meet win and 1 point for each team they beat at the league championship meet.

1. Avon 26, 2. Suffield 24, 3. Bolton 22, 4. Ellington 20, 5. Granby 18, 6. Canton 16, 7. East Granby 12, 8. Coventry 11, Stafford 11, 9. Somers 9, 10. Enfield 6

 

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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