MADISON, Nov. 8 – It was a unique opportunity for the Canton High boys cross country team to defend its Class SS championship.
Only minutes before running the race at Wickham Park in Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 29, the race was postponed. Heavy snow had begun to fall and organizers were worried about teams safely getting home. Nine of the 12 races were able to be run. The only events left to run were the Class SS boys and the Class S boys and girls races. How long could they be delayed?
That heavy, wet snow cut power to over 831,000 customers of Connecticut Light and Power and thousands of customers of United Illuminating. Every customers in Canton, Avon, Farmington, Simsbury and Granby lost power. Some didn’t get their electric service restored for 11 days. Schools in many towns were cancelled and in some towns, such as Avon, the schools were community shelters.
But the long delay left the CIAC in a sticky situation. They had three races left to hold plus the State Open. And they wanted to give Connecticut runners some time to prepare for the New England championships on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Rhode Island.
The solution was to run the State Open and three races on the same afternoon (Nov. 8) at Hammansett State Park in Madison. Nine CIAC races in the snow and mud on Oct. 29 combined with damage from the Central Connecticut Conference tournament earlier in October deemed the park unusable. Times from the Class SS and S races would be combined with the State Open to determine which runners would qualify for the New England championships.
In the Class SS boys race, Haddam Killingworth was dominant with six runners in the top 16 places as they easily won with 44 points. Canton turned in a solid second place performance with 133 points with Old Saybrook taking third in 174.
Canton senior Jon Cahill finished second in Class SS in a season-best time of 16:21, 10 seconds behind champion Brian Poirier of Northwest Catholic. Cahill is the third Canton runner to finish second in a CIAC race and his time is the second-best time by a Canton runner in a CIAC divisional race. Cahill earned All-State honors with his performance.
Peter LeDuc was second for the Warriors in 18th place with a season-best time of 17:23. Tyler Fitzpatrick (27, 17:49), Bryan Fitzpatrick (42, 18:18) and Jarrett Choinard (49, 18:33) rounded out the top five for Canton.
In the girls race, Canton finished seventh in Class S. Emma Frawley led the Warriors by finishing 32nd in a time of 22:47.
Cahill’s time, which would have been ranked 19th in the State Open, was good enough to qualify to run in the New England championships in Rhode Island later in the week. Cahill finished 130th with a time of 17:22 out a New England field of 275 runners.