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Canton boys, Avon girls take 3rd at NCCC indoor meet – The Collinsville Press
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Canton boys, Avon girls take 3rd at NCCC indoor meet

McHugh wins 2 titles for Avon; Canton wins 4×400 relay
NEW HAVEN, Jan. 17 – The Canton High boys track team didn’t let two previous NCCC championships weigh them down. The defending champions didn’t have the firepower to defend their title at last week’s North Central Connecticut Conference indoor track and field championship meet. But that isn’t what has been driving the Warriors this winter.

Canton’s Matt Graziano won a title in shot.

“There is no such thing as living in the past,” first-year Canton coach Seth Spector said. “You can’t live off last year. You have to live in the present.”

“We have to get better every day in practice,” he said.
Ellington was too balanced as they captured their first NCCC championship since 2008 with 96 points – the lowest championship score since 1999. Suffield was second with 77 points while the Warriors were third with 74 points.

Canton’s 4×400 meter relay team beat Ellington by two seconds to win a championship and set a new championship meet record in the process. Canton’s time of 3:40.61 was two seconds better than the previous mark set in 2010 by the Warriors.

Junior Matt Graziano won the shot put while four of his teammates finished second. Keith Wilson (600), Dave Solomon (55 hurdles, 300 meters) and Jeff Lochner (long jump) all were second in their respective events.

Tyler Fitzpatrick (1,000 meters) and Mark Solomon (55 hurdles) each finished third along with Canton’s 4×200 meter relay team.

Canton also won the sprint medley relay by about a second over Ellington but was disqualified when one of the runners allegedly interfered with another runner after taking a baton handoff. That DQ cost the Warriors 10 points.

The Avon High boys finished tied for fifth while Granby was ninth in the field of 11 teams. Avon’s 4×200 meter relay finished first while its 4×400 meter relay was third. Alex Uhl won the pole vault for the Bears with a leap of 10-feet, 6 inches.

Avon High freshman Maddi McHugh, right, won two individual titles.

On the strength of their runners, the Avon High girls finished third with 69 points, only two points shy of runner-up Ellington (71). With 102 points, Suffield won its second title in three years. Granby finished fifth with 41 points.

Megan Almagro won the 3,200 meters for Granby while Avon freshman Maddi McHugh won two events (1,000, 1,600) and ran on a winning 4×800 meter relay team.

In the 4×400 relay, Wilson led off for Canton and was neck and neck with an Ellington runner. But in the second leg, Mark Solomon simply ran away from the field and opened up a big lead. While the lead shrunk somewhat with David Solomon and Tyler Fitzpatrick, the Warriors had more than enough to win the event for the third straight year.

Graziano threw 44 feet, seven inches to win the NCCC title in the shot put. Wilson was a distant second in the 600 meters while Lochner had an indoor personal-best leap of 19 feet, one inch to finish second. In the 55 hurdles, the Solomon brothers finished second and third with Dave taking second (8.49 seconds) and Mark in third place (8.65).

If Canton had not been disqualified in the sprint medley relay (200 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters), they would have won that event for the third straight year.

It was the best finish ever for the Avon girls, who are competing for just the third year. “We wanted to get points with our distance runners and we did that,” Avon coach Al Daddario said. Avon didn’t enter competitors in several events. “With what we brought to the meet, we got our money’s worth,” he said.

McHugh is making a splash in her track and field debut. She played soccer in the fall but it didn’t slow her down. Step for step, McHugh dueled with Ellington’s Kayla Sgarlata for most of the race in the 1,600 meters but pulled away in the final lap for a three second win with a school record time of 5:33.96.

McHugh won the 1,000 meters by four seconds as the Falcons had three runners among the top six. Molly Hamel finished fourth while Kristen Goldie was sixth.

Katie McIntyre, McHugh, Goldie and Hamel all ran on the winning 4×800 relay team, the first Falcon foursome to win a NCCC girls indoor relay title. Avon by four seconds over Suffield with a school-record time of 10:31.91.
In the 55 meter dash, Chamiyah Rowland finished second with a school-record time of 7.71 seconds while teammate Stephanie Koo right behind in third place in 7.82 seconds. Koo was also fifth in the 300 meters. In the 3,200 meters, McIntyre finished second while teammate Madison Zapatka finished third.

The Canton girls were led by Anna Waite, who finished fourth in the shot with a throw 27 feet, 6 inches. Canton’s 4×200 relay team (Katie Talbot, Taryn Asklof, Kylie Delos, Zoe Van Kirk) also finished second, about three seconds back of Ellington.

Among the Granby girls, Almagro pulled away for an impressive win in the 3,200 meters while Marianna Sticca (55 hurdles), Ashley Piccirillo (600) and Alexa Cipkas (1,600) each finished third along with the 4×800 and 4×400 relay.

The Avon boys earned their first NCCC title in a relay with its 4×200 relay team that came from behind for the victory in 1:40.67, nipping East Granby by 0.25 of a second and Canton by 1.06 seconds. Anchor runner Ethan Buyse grabbed the lead at the beginning of his leg and held off the challengers. Evan Edgar, Ben Crawford and Gray Stewart ran before Buyse.
Colin Ponzani ran a personal best 2:47.8 in the 1,000 meters and finished fourth while the Falcons sprint medley relay team finished second, moving up one place when Canton was disqualified.

Uhl had the lone win for the Granby boys with his leap of 10 feet, six inches in the pole vault. The only other top three finish was the 4×800 relay which was third.

Canton’s 4×400 meter relay team won the NCCC indoor track championship with a record time. From left, Keith Wilson, Mark Solomon, David Solomon and Tyler Fitzpatrick

Avon’s 4×800 meter relay team that won a NCCC championship. From left to right, Kelly McIntyre, Molly Hamel, Maddi McHugh and Kristen Goldie

Avon’s 4×200 meter relay team that won the NCCC 2012 championship. From left, Evan Edgar, Gray Stewart, Ethan Buyse and Ben Crawford.


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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