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Canton boys win 2nd straight NCCC title; Avon girls finish a close third behind Granby

Canton’s boys track and field team won its 2nd straight NCCC title.

SUFFIELD, May 22 – It’s not just winning that matters for the Canton High boys track and field team. It’s the effort put forth by the athletes and it’s the goals they are trying to achieve.

“It’s no joke,” senior Jon Cahill said. “We take it seriously. Just like school and other things in life.”

Cahill didn’t win an individual championship but he finished a close second in the 1,600 meters and grabbed a pair of fourth place medals in the 800 and 3,200 meters as the Warriors won the NCCC championship meet for the third straight year and captured their second consecutive league championship.

Canton’s 400 meter relay team finished first, the 1,600 meter relay team won, setting a new league and school record while Matt Graziano easily won in discus by 35 feet. Mark Solomon (110 hurdles), Keith Wilson (400) and Dave Solomon (300 hurdles) each finished second.

Canton earned points in 13 of 18 events as they outlasted Coventry, 120-106. Suffield was third with 81 points. Avon was sixth with 50½ points, led by Colin Ponzani (800) with a silver medal and the 1,600 meter relay team that also finished second. Granby was led by senior Dan Clark, who won titles in the 110 high hurdle and 300 hurdle races.

Avon High’s Molly Hamel easily won the 3,200 meter title by over 21 seconds.

On the girls side, Suffield won its third straight league championship with a strong finish holding off Granby and Avon. The Wildcats scored 111 points while Granby nipped Avon by 1/3rd of a point to finish second, 98.167 to 98.
Granby’s depth in field events enabled them to beat the Falcons. Granby had three girls earn points in the discus, javelin and high jump. Heather Longley won a NCCC title in the discus, was second in the shot and fifth in the javelin. For Avon, Chamiyah Rowland (100) and Molly Hamel (3,200) won individual titles while the 3,200 relay won.

“I don’t think anyone was counting on us, including the coach,” Granby coach Dennis Lobo said with a grin. “Win, lose or draw, I’m happy because we had a great day.”

A year ago, the Canton boys (13-0) won league titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. This year, they fell short in cross country and indoor track. That helped fuel this spring’s performances.

“They gathered themselves together and got themselves going,” said Canton coach Tim O’Donnell. “A few kids cranked it up a lot and that has been a pleasant surprise.”

Canton’s Jeff Lochner in the long jump.

Cahill credits the coaching from O’Donnell and the sharing of knowledge within the team. “He believes in us,” Cahill said. “He sets some goals for us (in April) that sound ludicrous. But his training gets you right where he wants you to be. And we have a strong group of underclassmen willing to work.”

A year ago, David Kucia was the best hurdler in the league. But he never hesitated to share his technique. This year, Mark and Dave Solomon are sharing it with freshman Cameron Daley. Cahill learned from Nick Chekas, Kevin Kurnat and Ned Furtney. Now, he is passing it along, too. It’s a tradition across the program.

“I want to come back in future years and say I’m proud of this team and that I helped build the foundation of this program,” Cahill said.

Mark Solomon finished second in the 110 hurdles to Clark, who pulled away at the finish. Daley was sixth. In the 300 hurdles, Dave Solomon was second with Daley third and Mark Solomon sixth.
In the 400 meters, Keith Wilson and Tyler Fitzgerald finished second and third, respectively. Graziano won the discus but won the shot and was fourth in the javelin. Julian Franklin was fifth in the triple jump.

Tim Gavin, Keith Wilson, Colin Martin and Jeff Lochner won a title in the 400 meter relay while Wilson, Jim Spatcher, Dave Solomon and Tyler Fitzgerald easily won the 1,600 meter relay in 3:29.89, setting a new league and school record.

Granby’s Dan Clark, who a league title in the 400 meters last spring, tried hurdling a year ago and liked it. This year, he won a pair of NCCC titles. He pulled away from Mark Solomon in the 110 hurdles and easily beat Dave Solomon in the 300 hurdles.

“(Mark Solomon) beat me in the preliminaries so I knew I had to get off to a quick start,” Clark said. “We were bumping our arms at the beginning and I’m sure it was pretty bad form. But I just focused on each hurdle. It’s all about the steps.”

Avon received medal winning performances from Ethan Buyse, who was third in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100 meters. Cory DiBacco was fourth in the 200 meters. The Falcons’ 1,600 meter relay team (Mitch Gauthier, Harrison Stewart, DiBacco, Ponzani) finished second, running a time of 3:33.03, the fastest time at Avon in the event in 12 years.

On the girls side, Avon’s strength on the track showed. Rowland, Stephanie Koo and Tara Shayler each scored points in the 100 and 200 meters. The 3,200 meter relay team (Maddi McHugh, Ally Kolb, Sara Stokesbury, Sarah Kate Mascoli) won while the 400 meter and 1,600 meter relay teams each finished second.

For the fifth time in the last six years, an Avon runner won the 3,200 meters as Hamel blew away the field, winning by 21 seconds in 11:39.06. She also finished fifth in the 1,600 meters. Stokesbury and McHugh were in the top six in the 800 meters while Alannah Noonan was second in the 110 hurdles and Maeve Reiss was third in the 300 hurdles.

Granby used a balanced approach to finish second for the first time since 1998 and just the third time in the last 26 years. Longley won the discus while Paige Kibbe (high jump), Longley (shot) and Emily Uhl (javelin) finished second. Ashley Piccirillo-Horan (1,600) and Megan Almagro (3,200) each finished third.

Along with three girls scoring in the discus, javelin and high jump, Granby had two girls earn points in the 110 hurdles, 3,200 meters and shot.

Canton’s Jamie Haberen was sixth in the long jump with a leap of 14-8¼ feet while Canton’s 3,200 meter relay team (Leigh Ana Rossitto, Amanda Curvino, Emily Jarka, Eliza Chekas) finished eighth with a new school record time of 11:17.65.

Complete results

NCCC boys championship meet
Recent winners of the NCCC championship meet, which isn’t necessarily the league champion, determined by dual meet wins and teams beaten at the league meet

Year:    Team     Points
2012:  Canton         120
2011:  Canton         152
2010:  Canton       122.5
2009:  Tolland         140
2008:  Tolland         124
2007:  Tolland         156
2006:  East Windsor 136
2005:  Ellington       155
2004:  Ellington       194
2003:  Ellington       202
2002:  Ellington      126
2001:  Ellington      126
2000:  Ellington      98.5
1999:  Ellington    128.5
1998:  E.O. Smith    141
1997:  Tolland         135
1996:  Ellington       167
1995:  Ellington  177.75
1994:  Avon        177.75
1993:  Tolland       137
1992:  Ellington    140
1991:  Ellington    138
1990:  Tolland   134.25
1989:  Tolland      129
1988:  Tolland     113.5
1987:  Somers      128
1986:  E.O. Smith  115

1985:  Granby       112.5

NCCC girls championship meet
Recent winners of the NCCC championship meet, which isn’t necessarily the league champion, determined by dual meet wins and teams beaten at the league meet

Year:    Team     Points
2012:  Suffield   111
2011:  Suffield   141
2010:  Suffield   153
2009:  Tolland   227.5
2008:  Tolland   199.5
2007:  Tolland   217
2006:  Tolland   190.5
2005:  Tolland   161.5
2004:  Ellington  184
2003:  Ellington  127
2002:  Ellington 126
2001:  Tolland   105.5
2000:  Suffield   110.5
1999:  E.O. Smith 172
1998:  E.O. Smith 190
1997:  E.O. Smith 117
1996:  E.O. Smith 120
1995:  E.O. Smith 97
1994:  E.O. Smith 96
1993:  Tolland 82.5
1992:  Tolland 150
1991:  Tolland 157
1990:  Tolland 96
1989:  Avon 131
1988:  Avon 87
1987:  Ellington 87
1986:  Avon 79.5

1985:  Granby 94

2012 NCCC boys track standings
Team               Dual     Lg.    Total
x-Canton           13-0      13      26
Suffield              11-2      11      22
Coventry            9-4       12      21
Ellington            10-3      10      20
Avon                 10-3       8       18
Granby             10-3       6       16
SMSA                 4-9       9       13
Enfield                5-8       7       12
Somers               6-7       5       11
East Windsor      6-7       3       9
East Granby      2-11      4       6
Windsor Locks  3-10      2       5
Bolton               0-12      1       1
Stafford             0-12      0       0
Team earn 1 point for each NCCC dual meet win and 1 point for each team they beat at the league championship meet.
x-won league championship

2012 NCCC girls track
Team               Dual     Lg.    Total
x-Suffield             13-0     13     26
Avon                   12-1     11      23
Granby                11-2     12     23
Ellington              10-3     10     20
Coventry               9-4       9     18
Stafford                 8-5       7     15
SMSA                    5-8       8     13
East Windsor        8-5       5     13
Enfield                   4-9      4       8
Canton                  6-7      1       7
Bolton                 0-13      6       6
East Granby        2-11     2       4
Windsor Locks    1-12     0       1
Team earn 1 point for each NCCC dual meet win and 1 point for each team they beat at the league championship meet.
x-won league championship

 

 

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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