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Canton boys run with the big schools at Stratton Brook, take fifth

XC boys DSC_3816SIMSBURY – Canton High boys cross country coach Tim O’Donnell doesn’t want to pick up a trophy for the sake of winning a trophy. His goals include having the Warriors be competitive in the upcoming NCCC championships in mid-October and the Class S championship race one week later.

That’s why Canton ran in the Large School Division at the 34th annual Stratton Brook Invitational Saturday. Canton finished fifth behind Staples, Hall, Simsbury and Glastonbury. The combined time for Canton’s five runners would have been good enough to win the Small Division championship. But O’Donnell wants to push his runners to get better.

Senior James Yost led the Warriors with a 10th place finish in 17:21.19 with his twin brother, Dean, taking 23rd place in 17:52.16. Will Briggs was 40th in 18:23, Jake Whittingslow was 46th in 18:35.53 and Zach Oliver was 51st in 18:42.84.

Running with the big schools is nothing new for the Warriors. They ran in the Large Division race in 2012, 2010 and 2009. They won the Large Division title in 2010.

The Canton High girls did run in the Small Division race and finished seventh. The Warriors were led by sophomores Emily Briggs (22:45.66) and Jocelyn Rossitto (22:56.13), who finished 19th and 20th, respectively.

Canton returns to action on Tuesday with a dual meet at Avon’s Fisher Meadows with East Granby and Enfield. The Canton boys and Avon boys are both undefeated after two weeks of action.

It could be the last time Canton and Avon run in a dual meet for the foreseeable future. Avon moves to the Central Connecticut Conference next year. Over the past few years, non-league dual meets have become fewer and fewer.

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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