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Spring high school campaign begins on Wednesday for Avon, Canton

Despite the chilly temperatures, the spring season for high school sports opens on Wednesday with Canton and Avon High athletes hitting the fields. There are three new coaches in Canton while six Avon High teams look to defend championships they won last spring.

A schedule for the first 10 days of the season is included in this story along with a quick look at each Falcon and Warrior squad.

TRACK: Canton and Coventry visit Avon on Wednesday. The Canton High boys track and field team won the NCCC championship last spring and finished second in Class S. They’ll be a contender again for both titles. The Avon High girls track and field team won the NCCC indoor track title in February and include nearly all of the runners from last fall’s Class MM state championship cross country team. The Falcons look to contend for a NCCC championship.

BASEBALL: Avon and Canton both missed out on the state tournament a year ago. Avon, under veteran coach Marty deLivron, has talented players in junior pitcher Noah Hahn, infielder Will DiStefano, catcher Ben Lombard and outfielder Dan Sheiker. At Canton, the Warriors lost two starters to graduation and look strong up the middle with catcher Jake Wood, shortstop Brendan Reilly and outfielder Chris Van deBogart. Returning pitcher Patrick Sullivan won six games a year ago and hit .386.

SOFTBALL: A year ago, Canton surged in the state tournament advancing as far as the semifinals before falling to St. Bernard under first-year coach Charley Batan. This year, the Warriors look to keep the momentum going. At Avon, coach John Snyder continues to rebuild the program and work toward qualifying for the CIAC state tournament.

BOYS LACROSSE: Avon finished a game behind Granby for the NCCC championship a year ago and looks to contend again this spring. The Falcons host Somers on Wednesday at Buckingham. In Canton, Steve Shaus takes over the second-year varsity team that won one game a year ago.

GIRLS LACROSSE: Avon High coach Sean Coles has an experienced team returning and the Falcons will be looking to defend their NCCC championship and contend for a state championship. In Canton, athletic director Dee Stephan takes the reins. Stephan formerly coached lacrosse at Avon High and at Ethel Walker in Simsbury where her teams won two New England championships. She is a member of the Connecticut chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

BOYS TENNIS: Avon has won the past two Class M championships and the last three NCCC titles. And they look just as strong this spring. Among the players returning for Avon (15-2, 14-0 NCCC) are seniors Sam Aronson, who finished second in singles in Class M, and Sam Flaxman, who fell in the quarterfinals.

Eric and Evan Selzer, who fell in the Class M doubles semifinals, return along with junior John Burdick, who won a Class M doubles title with the now-graduated Jason Sittambalam. Avon has won 39 straight league matches since 2010.

In Canton, the Warriors went 9-5 a year ago and qualified for the Class S tournament. They hope to improve on that mark this spring.

GIRLS TENNIS: Avon (18-2, 17-1) won the NCCC championship last spring and looks to defend their championship. Junior Pam Fetzer, who finished second in the No. 1 flight at the NCCC tournament returns along with sophomore Kendall Held and juniors Madeline and Hannah Clark, who won the No. 1 flight in doubles at the NCCC tournament. Canton looks to improve on a 4-14 season under first-year coach Mike Reiner.

BOYS GOLF: Senior Ryan Karbowicz, who the medalist in 11 matches last spring for Avon returns for the Falcons, who look to contend for the NCCC championship. The Falcons (12-4, 10-2 NCCC) finished third behind Ellington (18-0, 12-0) and Coventry (18-1, 11-1). The Falcons did win their second straight NCCC Tournament, though. Canton (2-14, 1-11 NCCC) is looking for a stronger season this spring.

GIRLS GOLF: Avon (20-2) won its first outright Southern Connecticut Girls Golf League championship a year going 12-0 in the league and winning the SCGGL Tournament for the second straight year. Four of the five starters from last spring return including junior Marissa Grillo, a two-time All-State player who qualified to play in the New England tournament.

Avon High coach Patrick Welkey hopes the Falcons can make a run at the CIAC state championship, as well. Alana Pulling, Catherine Ponziani and Leezy Lavrova also return. Canton (13-10, 8-4) looks to build on its third place finish in the SCGGL a year ago but it will be tough with the loss of two-time All-State player Nikki Liucci, who graduated last spring.

CREW: The Avon High teams will have several scrimmage races before participating in the year-end public school championship races on Sunday, May 19 at Lake Waramaug in Washington, Conn.

SCHEDULE

All games begin at 3:45 p.m. unless otherwise listed

Wednesday, April 3
BOYS LACROSSE: Ellington at Canton, 4; Somers at Avon (Buckingham), 4:30
BOYS TENNIS: Canton at Windsor Locks, 4; Avon at Suffield, 4
GIRLS LACROSSE: Canton at Ellington, 4:30, Avon at Somers, 4
GIRLS TENNIS: Windsor Locks at Canton, 4; Suffield at Avon (AMS), 4
TRACK: Canton, Coventry at Avon

Thursday, April 4
BASEBALL: Granby at Avon (Buckingham)
BOYS GOLF: Canton at Portland, 2:45
BOYS TENNIS: Hall at Avon (Thompson Brook)
GIRLS GOLF: Avon at Suffield (Copper Hill), 3
SOFTBALL: Avon at Granby (Salmon Brook)

Friday, April 5
BASEBALL: East Granby at Canton; Farmington at Avon (Buckingham)
BOYS LACROSSE: St. Paul at Canton, 4
SOFTBALL: Canton at East Granby; Avon at Farmington (Tunxis Meade)

Saturday, April 6
BASEBALL: Wilcox Tech at Canton, 11 a.m.
BOYS LACROSSE: Avon at RHAM, noon
GIRLS LACROSSE: Avon at Joel Barlow, 12:30 p.m.

Monday, April 8
BOYS GOLF: Avon at Canton (Tower Ridge), 3
BOYS TENNIS: Canton at Bolton; Windsor Locks at Avon (Thompson Brook)
GIRLS GOLF: Canton at Cheshire (Southington CC), 3
GIRLS LACROSSE: Lewis Mills at Canton, 4:15
GIRLS TENNIS: Bolton at Canton; Avon at Windsor Locks

Tuesday, April 9
BASEBALL: Canton at Bolton, 4:15; Avon at Windsor Locks, 4
BOYS LACROSSE: Avon at Conard, 4:30
BOYS TENNIS: Suffield at Canton
GIRLS GOLF: Hand, Sacred Heart Academy at Avon (Blue Fox)
SOFTBALL: Bolton at Canton; Windsor Locks at Avon (Fisher Meadow), 4
TRACK: Ellington, Windsor Locks at Avon

Wednesday, April 10
BOYS GOLF: Coventry at Canton (Tower Ridge), 3; Lewis Mills at Avon (Blue Fox), 3
BOYS TENNIS: Avon at Enfield
GIRLS TENNIS: Canton at Suffield; Enfield at Avon (AMS)

Thursday, April 11
BASEBALL: Suffield at Canton; Avon at Stafford, 4
BOYS LACROSSE: Suffield at Canton
GIRLS GOLF: Canton at Suffield (Copper Hill), 3; Mercy at Avon (Blue Fox), 3
GIRLS LACROSSE: Canton at Suffield, 7; Avon at Glastonbury, 4
SOFTBALL: Canton at Suffield; Stafford at Avon (Fisher Meadows), 4
TRACK: Canton, SMSA at Enfield

Friday, April 12
BOYS LACROSSE: Avon at Granby (Ahrens Park), 4
BOYS TENNIS: Granby at Canton; Ellington/Somers at Avon (Thompson Brook), 4
GIRLS LACROSSE: Granby at Avon
GIRLS TENNIS: Canton at Granby; Avon at Ellington, 4
SOFTBALL: Conard at Canton

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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