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Avon looks to build on excellent performances at NCCC championships

Avon's Maddi McHugh leads Granby's Cynthia Jones and teammate Sara Stokesbury in the 800 meters at the NCCC tournament.

Avon’s Maddi McHugh, who leads Granby’s Cynthia Jones and teammate Sara Stokesbury in the 800 meters at the NCCC tournament, is the first Avon girl to win three first place medals at the NCCC championships.

AVON – The Avon High boys and girls track and field team head to Middletown High on Tuesday to compete in the Class MM championship meet. Avon isn’t a contender to bring home any team championships but there could be an individual or a relay in contention for medals.

Avon junior Maddi McHugh is the third seed in the 400 and 800 meters. Molly Hamel is the No. 2 seed in the 3,200 meters while Kaely Quijano is the No. 2 seed in the pole vault.

The Falcons will be looking to build on their outstanding performance last week’s NCCC championship meet in Ellington. For just the second time in team history, the Avon girls won the NCCC tournament for the second straight year. And they did it with a balanced effort across the board. 

Avon scored in 17 of 18 events as they beat Suffield by 25 points, 141½ to 116. McHugh won 400 and 800 meters and ran the anchor lead on Avon’s winning 4×400 relay team. She is believed to be the first Avon girl to capture three first medals in a single day at the league championship meet.

The Avon boys had its best effort in the NCCC meet since 2001 with a fourth place finish. Not only did senior Jake Sartain become the first Avon boy to win an individual league championship since 2005 but he became the first Falcon to win multiple events in 20 years.

Sartain won the triple jump and high jump. The last Avon boy to win multiple events at the NCCC championships was Gerald Blankson in 1994 when he swept the long jump and triple jump.

McHugh was dominant in the 400 meters, winning by nearly four seconds. He was 0.19 of a second shy of the meet record. The 800 meter race was a bit closer but McHugh still prevailed, moving away from Granby’s Cynthia Jones in the second lap to win by 0.64 of a second.

“I feel really good,” McHugh said. “The weather is perfect and it is a good running day.” The temperature was in the low 70s with a good breeze.

McHugh didn’t focus on her opponents. She maintained her focus on her preparation and performance. “I don’t compare myself against other people. I run against the clock. It’s just the way I run,” she said.

McHugh also ran on Avon’s 4×400 winning relay team with Tara Shayler, Jennifer Koo and Carly Regalado. She is believed to be the first Avon girl to capture three first place medals in a single day at a league championship meet.

The Falcons also won the 4×800 relay (Hannah Carpino, Sarah Kate Mascoli, Risa Lewis, Sara Stokesbury). Junior Kaely Quijano became the first Avon girl to win a league title in the pole vault, clearing nine feet.

“It’s a team sport and everyone matters,” McHugh said. “We all know our roles. It used to be more of a running team. Now, it’s a team.” A few medal winning highlights include:

  • Molly Hamel: 2nd 3,200 meters, 3rd 1,600
  • Carly Regalado: 2nd 300 hurdles, 3rd 100 hurdles
  • Maeve Reiss: 2nd triple jump; 7th 300 hurdles
  • Erin Sherman: 3rd javelin, 4th discus, 7th javelin
  • Chamiyah Rowland: 3rd 100
  • Kiely Quijano, 3rd pole vault
  • Jennifer Koo: 4th 400
  • Tara Shayler: 4th 200
  • Caroline Rendeiro, tied 4th high jump
  • Christina Martin: 6th 3,200; 8th 1,600
  • Sara Stokesbury: 6th 800
  • Kaleigh Sherman, 6th high jump
  • Karina Bucci, 7th long jump, 7th triple jump
  • Sarah Kate Mascoli: 8th 800

The only event Avon was shut out of was the 4×100 relay when they were disqualified for a lane violation. Avon actually finished third in the race.

“It was a nice well-rounded effort,” Avon coach Al Dadario said.

Avon's Jake Sartain clears the high jump bar in a meet earlier in May at East Windsor.

Avon’s Jake Sartain clears the high jump bar in a meet earlier in May at East Windsor.

Sartain led a nice effort from the boys team with his two victories in the triple jump and high jump. He also was second in the long jump about 3 ¾ inches behind the winner Tyrik Henry of Enfield, who won three individual events.

  • Patrick Howard, 2nd pole vault
  • Justin Reichler, 3rd long jump; 4th shot
  • Evan Edgar, 3rd 200
  • Andrew Suter, 7th 3,200
  • Greg Oberhausen, 7th 800

Avon’s best finish in a relay was the 4×400 relay team (David Lim, Oberhausen, Scott Frederick, Eric Liu), which finished sixth.

Canton won the boys event for the fifth straight year with a solid score of 157½, followed by Ellington (123½), Suffield (98½), Avon (67) and East Windsor (46½).

NOTES: The last individual to win a state title from Avon was Claire Smith, who won the 3,200 meters at the Class M championships in 2007. The last Avon boy to win an individual state title was Adam Blankenbicker, who won the Class M title in the pole vault in 1999 and 2000. … The last time the Avon girls won two straight NCCC Tournament titles was 1988 and 1989.


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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