NEW BRITAIN, June 17 – Canton senior Cam Daley began competing in the decathlon four years ago as a freshman. He quickly learned that he couldn’t dwell on a poor or a disappointing performance because there was always another event to complete in.
“There is a clean slate in every event,” Daley said. “It’s real important to put (the previous event) behind you. You can’t dwell on it. You have to move on to the next one.”
Daley’s ability to move on served him well as a member of Canton’s football and basketball teams in his scholastic career. “Just because you make a turnover on one play doesn’t mean you can force a turnover on the following play,” he said.
Daley’s ability to remain focused on the job at hand helped him set a new school record by taking third in the CIAC decathlon Wednesday. Daley finished in the top 10 in seven of 10 events and finished with 5,725 points.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I wanted to beat what I had done in the previous year and get over 5,700 points. There just happened to be two guys that scored more than that.”
Windham Tech’s Damon Vega won three of 10 events and had top 10 finishes in nine events to capture the event with 5,955 points. Bristol Central’s William Tolliver was second with 5,814 points.
Canton sophomore Dustin Van Kirk was 16th in the decathlon with 4,749 points while junior Kim Tanner set a new school record in the girls heptathlon with 3,037 points to finish tied for 24th place. In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, James Yost was 14th in 10:34.10 while his twin brother, Dean, was 26th in 10:58.70.
In the 2,000 meter steeplechase, Canton freshman Aiden O’Donnell was 14th in 7:15.06 while Avon sophomore Zach Bortoff was 18th in 7:19.25.
Daley came up with some big performances Wednesday. He was fifth after five events on day one. Daley finished seventh in the 110 hurdles in 16.49 seconds and was fourth in the discus with a throw of 106 feet and eight inches.
In the pole vault, Daley cleared a personal best of 10-2. But it wasn’t easy. Twice, he had to make pressure-packed jumps just to advance. He missed his first two jumps at 8-10¼ and 9-10 and had to clear the bar on his third attempt to remain alive.
In the javelin, Daley was fifth with a throw of 142 feet and in the final event, the 1,500 meters, he finished fourth with a personal-best time of 4:50.78, breaking his previous best by nearly seven seconds.
“It’s all about effort and what you have left in the tank,” Daley said regarding the 1,500 meters. “It separates the men from the boys.” His strong finish in the 1,500 meters lifted Daley into third place.
He was thrilled with his performance in the shot on day one when he took third. He exceeded his personal best by nearly two feet. In the 400 meters, he had another personal best taking second overall.
“His goal was to be competitive and have a shot to win,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. “He’s done an excellent job. The competition is all over the place. You have to focus on doing your best.”
Daley will attend Rowan University, a Division III school in Glassboro, New Jersey this fall. He will study mechanical engineering and be on the track and field program. The expectation is that Daley will compete in the decathlon.
Van Kirk had a pair of top 10 finishes Wednesday. He was 10th in the 110 hurdles in 16.68 seconds and 10th in the discus with a throw of 98 feet.
In day two of the heptathlon, Tanner was 11th in the javelin with a throw of 73 feet, 8 inches. She was 24th in the long jump (13-9 ¾) and 28th in the 800 meters (2:52.35). She broke the school record of 2,970 points set a year ago by Alex Martin. Tanner’s best performance in the heptathlon came in the 100 hurdles when she was 15th.