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Canton boys capture 6th straight NCCC title; best-ever finish for Canton girls (3rd) – The Collinsville Press
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Canton boys capture 6th straight NCCC title; best-ever finish for Canton girls (3rd)

Canton's John Solomon won the 300 hurdles and was third in the 110 hurdles to help the Warriors capture their sixth straight NCCC championship. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s John Solomon won the 300 hurdles and was third in the 110 hurdles to help the Warriors capture their sixth straight NCCC championship. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

STAFFORD, May 24 – The question that had to be answered at the NCCC championship meet was simple. Would the undefeated Canton High boys track and field team share the league championship with Ellington or could the Warriors lay sole claim to the pennant.

Canton, which hasn’t lost a dual meet since the end of the 2010 campaign, received individual victories from Will Briggs (discus, shot) and John Solomon (300 hurdles) and four second place finishes from Max Sparks, Stephen Oliver, Carlson and Dustin Van Kirk to nip Ellington by 5½ points and capture their sixth straight NCCC title.

It was one of the closest meets in league history. In 1991, Ellington slipped past Avon by two, 138-136. In 2000, Tolland and Ellington tied at 98½ points.

In the girls competition, Ellington won its first league championship since 2004 with a 10-point win over Granby. Canton, with just 12 girls competing, finished third with its best-ever showing at the NCCC championship meet. Amber Harraden (400) and Jane Frawley (1,600) both came from behind to capture NCCC championships.

Canton coach Tim O’Donnell was concerned that his boys team had not been pushed in weeks. They beat Ellington and Coventry early in April. But the Warriors responded. “We had better focus,” O’Donnell said. “The one thing that has been the hallmark of this team is that they perform well at big meets. It’s not always about the time, it’s about the place.”

Canton's Dustin Van Kirk earned a pair of silver medals and a bronze medal at the NCCC championships Tuesday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s Dustin Van Kirk earned a pair of silver medals and a bronze medal at the NCCC championships Tuesday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

It’s about points and they add up. Max Sparks took third in the 1,600 meters, beating an Ellington runner by four seconds. In the 3,200, Sparks was second, six seconds ahead of an Ellington runner in third place. Those two wins were worth an extra three points to the Warriors.

Canton had three athletes among the top seven in the high jump and two among the top five in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 3,200 meters and javelin. Ellington had four individual champions led by Wellington Silva (100, 200 meters) and won one relay.

“It was a good day,” O’Donnell said. “Ellington beat us by a lot at the (Greater Hartford Invitational two weeks ago). We knew they would be tough but we came together. Everyone knew what they had to do and they came through.”

Solomon won the 300 hurdles in 41.96, beating teammate Dustin Van Kirk by 0.31 of a second. Solomon was also fourth in the high jump (5-8) and third in the 110 hurdles (15.76). Van Kirk was second in the 110 hurdles, 0.02 of a second ahead of Solomon. Van Kirk was also third in the triple jump with a leap of 39-9¼ inches.

Briggs helped by winning the shot (44-5) and discus (158-4) and taking fourth in the javelin (141-6). Briggs’ throw in the discus was a little over a foot shy of the championship record of 159-8 set by Brian Tarbox of Granby in 1984.

Sparks was second in the 3,200 meters (10:06.38) with Cam Neeley taking fifth and earning four points. Cam Lange was fifth in the long jump (19-0) with another four points for the Warriors.

In the pole vault, Stephen Oliver was second, clearing 11 feet, six inches. Teammate Tim Biondo was seventh, clearing 9-6. In the high jump, Solomon led Canton by clearing 5-8 while Lange was fifth (5-6) and Patrick Lagonigro (5-4) was seventh. Zach Oliver earned three points for Canton with a sixth place finish in the 800 meters.

“We were able to rise to the occasion,” O’Donnell said.

Emily Mitchell was second in the 100 meters, third in the 200 and ninth in the long jump. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Emily Mitchell was second in the 100 meters, third in the 200 and ninth in the long jump. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Teams earn one point for each team they beat during the dual meet portion of the season and one point for every team they beat at the league championship meet. Canton (14-0, 13-0 NCCC) earned 13 points by running the table in the NCCC and another 13 points for winning the meet for 26 points. Ellington (12-1) finished with 24 points.

The girls race was close, too. Both Ellington and Granby finished 12-1 during the regular season. The winner of the championship meet would take home the league title. Ellington was a little deeper, winning four individual events and the 4×800 relay. The Purple Knights also finished second in four events.

Granby, which has finished second four times in the last five years at the championship meet, was led by Brianna Hoyt (100, 200) and MacKenzie Stahl (discus, javelin), who won two events each.

Nearly all 12 of Canton’s competitors competed in three events – an exhausting task against the best competitors in the league. “They relish being tough and they are incredibly tough,” O’Donnell said.

Jane Frawley came from behind to win the NCCC title in the 1,600 meters. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Jane Frawley came from behind to win the NCCC title in the 1,600 meters. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Frawley and Harraden each came from behind to win their races in the 1,600 meters and the 400 meters, respectively. Harraden took second in the javelin with a throw of 91 feet, 2 inches and was tenth in the triple jump. Frawley took sixth in the 3,200 meters in 12:20.96.

Lucy Tanner had a pair of fourth place finishes in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Emily Mitchell was second in the 100 meters in 13.28 seconds, took third in the 200 meters in 27.13 and was ninth in the long jump (14-3½). Elizabeth Raynor was fourth in the pole vault, clearing 7-6.

Other top 10 finishes came from Emily Briggs (sixth in 1600), Sophia Langou (fifth, 400), Abby Briggs (fifth, 800) and Abbe Skinner (sixth, high jump). The Warriors were fifth in the 4×800 relay, seventh in the 4×100 relay and ninth in the 4×400 relay.

NCCC championship meet
At Stafford
BOYS: 1. Canton 128½, 2. Ellington 123, 3. Hartford Classical 94, 4. Coventry 88½, 5. Suffield 58, 6. Stafford 57½, 7. Granby 40½, 8. SMSA 30, 9. East Windsor 28, 10. Enfield 27, 11. Somers 11, 12. Windsor Locks 10. 13. Bolton 6
Top three results and Canton athletes in the top 10. x-meet record
100: 1. Wellington Silva, Ellington, 11.33; 2. Matt Frank, Stafford, 11.62; 3. Josiah Oliver, Classical, 11.77

200: 1. Wellington Silva, Ellington, 22.72; 2. Jameal Cushnie, Classical, 22.89; 3. Juan Echevarria, Classical, 23.00

400: 1. x-Jameal Cushnie, Classical, 49.40; 2. Juan Echevarria, Classical, 50.29; 3. Robin Allen Chan, SMSA, 51.19

800: 1. Connor Ratte, Coventry, 2:00.65; 2. Carlos Echevarria, Classical, 2:02.91; 3. Daniel Meaney, Ellington, 2:04.99; 6. Zach Oliver, Canton, 2:06.23

1,600: 1. Connor Ratte, Coventry, 4:28.00; 2. Thomas Arbeiter, Ellington, 4:31.07; 3. Maximillian Sparks, Canton, 4:38.72

3,200: 1. David Clavet, Ellington, 9:50.66; 2. Maximillian Sparks, Canton, 10:06.38; 3. Thomas Arbeiter, Ellington, 10:12.40; 5. Cam Neeley, Canton, 10:23.97; 10. Aidan O’Donnell, Canton, 10:32.35

110 hurdles: 1. Nicholas Pronovost, Coventry, 15.71; 2. Dustin Van Kirk, Canton, 15.74; 3. John Solomon, Canton, 15.76; 10. Patrick Lagonigro, Canton, 19.36

300 hurdles: 1. John Solomon, Canton, 41.96; 2. Dustin Van Kirk, Canton, 42.27; 3. Michael Nguyen, SMSA, 42.94; 9. Jesse Waite, Canton, 44.89

4×100 relay: 1. Stafford (William Bernier, Michael Bladek, Matt Frank, Matt Martinsen), 45.04; 2. Classical, 45.40; 3. SMSA, 45.74; 4. Canton (Jesse Waite, Matt Pickett, Cameron Lange, Stephen Oliver), 46.57

4×400: 1. Suffield (Shawn Andrade, Lukas Baker, Robert Mueller, Alek Cotnoir), 3:31.31; 2. Classical, 3:31.55; 3. Ellington, 3:32.99; 7. Canton (Matt Pickett, Brad Connolly, Stephen Oliver, Jesse Waite) 3:41.72

4×800: 1. Ellington (William Broding, David Clavet, Kyle Fitzgerald, Daniel Meaney), 8:32.20; 2. Suffield, 8:36.19; 2. 8:36.19; 3. East Windsor, 8:40.66; 4. Canton (Ethan Porter, Cam Neeley, Zach Oliver, Andrew Obrzut) 8:47.30

Long jump: 1. Jacob Figueiredo, Coventry, 21-3; 2. Wellington Silva, Ellington, 21-4 ¾; 3. Dajon Wharton-Rodriguez, Granby, 18-11 ½; 5. Cam Lange, Canton, 19-0

High jump: 1 Yafari Boland, Classical, 6-0; 2. Nicholas Pronovost, Coventry, 5-10; 3. Jameal Cushnie, Classical, 5-8; 4. John Solomon, Canton, 5-8; 5. Cam Lange, Canton, 5-6, 7. Patrick Lagonigro, Canton, 5-4

Triple jump: 1. Kwabena Obiekwu, Coventry, 40-7¼; 2. Dajon Wharton-Rodriguez, Granby, 39-11; 3. Dustin Van Kirk, Canton, 39-9¼

Pole vault: 1. Joshua Prouty, Ellington, 12-0; 2. Stephen Oliver, Canton, 11-6; 3. Anthony Fernandez, East Windsor, 11-0; 7. Tim Biondo, Canton, 9-6

Discus:  1. Willi Briggs, Canton, 158-4; 2. Ryan Cleaves, Suffield, 111-8; 3. Tristan Garrick, East Windsor, 109-9

Javelin: 1. Collin Debarber, Enfield, 152-5; 2. Will Carlson, Canton, 148-2; 3. Michael Nguyen, SMSA, 141-8; 4. Will Briggs, Canton, 141-6

Shot put: 1. Will Briggs, Canton, 44-5; 2. James Boner, Suffield, 39-7; 3. William Desilets, Stafford, 39-6 ½

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES: 1. Ellington 119, 2. Granby 109, 3. Canton 80½, 4. Suffield 73, 5. East Windsor 60½, 6. Coventry 59½, 7. Somers 47½, 8. Stafford 43, 9. Windsor Locks and Hartford Classical 37, 10. East Granby 27, 11. Bolton 6, 13. SMSA 3

100: 1. Brianna Hoyt, Granby, 12.99; 2. Emily Mitchell, Canton, 13.28; 3. Brittania Tulloch, East Granby, 13.29

200: 1. Briana Hoyt, Granby, 26.59; 2. Kara Lanz, East Windsor, 26.78; 3. Emily Mitchell, Canton, 27.13

400: 1. Amber Harraden, Canton, 1:01.12; 2. Vanessa Bobb, East Windsor, 1:01.78; 3. Suzanne Pranger, Coventry, 1:02.24; 5. Sophia Langou, Canton, 1:03.28

800: 1. Bethany Bahler, Ellington, 2:24.10; 2. Allison Hill, Ellington, 2:24.58; 3. Samantha Carpino, Coventry, 2:24.77; 5. Abby Briggs, Canton, 2:32.52

1,600: 1. Jane Frawley, Canton, 5:29.14; 2. Deana Pileika, Suffield, 5:31.12; 3. Lia Guerette, Ellington, 5:32.11; 6. Emily Briggs, Canton, 5:38.09

3,200: 1. Ava Roche, Somers, 11:55.84; 2. Lia Guerette, Ellington, 11:59.08; 3. Deana Pileika, Suffield, 12:08.13; 6. Jane Frawley, Canton, 12:20.96; 9. Emily Briggs, Canton, 12:51.21

100 hurdles: 1. Savanna Macaluso, Ellington, 15.50; 2. Nicole Szilagyi, Granby, 15.94; 3. Amanda Kaufman, Somers, 16.07; 4. Lucy Tanner, Canton, 16.30

300 hurdles: 1. Amanda Kaufman, Somers, 46.72; 2. Alexis Bergamini, Suffield, 48.76; 3. Jordin Comstock, East Granby, 48.84; 4. Lucy Tanner, Canton, 49.08; 8. Elizabeth Raynor, Canton, 53.04

4×100 relay: 1. East Windsor (Morgan Masters, Vanessa Bobb, Shanice Bryan, Kara Lanz), 51.65; 2. Windsor Locks, 52.45; 3. Granby, 52.70; 7. Canton (Elizabeth Raynor, Sophia Langou, Abbe Skinner, Lucy Tanner) 54.02

4×400: 1. East Windsor (Vanessa Bobb, Morgan Masters, Shanice Bryan, Kara Lanz), 4:14.03; 2. Suffield, 4:15.54; 3. Ellington, 4:16.69; 9. Canton (Abby Briggs, Jane Frawley, Sophia Langou, Helena Winkler) 4:39.17

4×800: 1. Ellington (Victoria Chandler, Allison Hill, Anna Chamberland, Bethany Bahler), 10:12.93; 2. Coventry, 10:23.03; 3. Somers, 10:32.58; 5. Canton (Abby Briggs, Emily Briggs, Cameron McCauley, Helena Winkler)) 10:48.95

Long jump: 1. Megan Knowling, Ellington, 17-0; 2. Morgan Masters, East Windsor, 17-11; 3. Lexie Hanrath, Coventry, 16-1; 9. Emily Mitchell, Canton, 14-3½

High jump: 1. x-Megan Knowling, Ellington, 5-4; 2. Brianna Hoyt, Granby, 5-2; 3. Kirsten Krause, Coventry, 5-0; 6. Abbe Skinner, Canton, 4-8

Triple jump: 1. Lexie Hanrath, Coventry, 33-7; 2. Megan Knowling, Ellington, 33-2 ½; 3. Emily Kopec, Stafford, 31-11; 10. Amber Harradan, Canton, 29-7½

Pole vault: 1. Emily Kopec, Stafford, 9-6; 2. Sophie Lupone, Suffield, 8-0; 3. Kate Campbell, East Windsor, 7-6; 4. Elizabeth Raynor, Canton, 7-6

Discus: 1. Mackenzie Stahl, Granby, 95-5; 2. Tabitha Saluk, Classiccal, 92-7; 3. Kelly Hernandez, Windsor Locks, 92-7

Javelin: 1. Mackenzie Stahl, Granby, 101-6; 2. Amber Harraden, Canton, 91-2; 3. Leah Gervin, Ellington, 88-8

Shot put: 1. Emily Kopec, Stafford, 32-6 1/2; 2. Kaitlyn Webber, Ellington, 31-0 3. Olivia Hoerle, East Granby, 30-3

2016 NCCC championship individual results

League championship race 
Teams earn one point for each dual meet victory and one point for each team they beat at the league championship race
BOYS: 1. Canton 13-0, 26 points, 2. Ellington 12-1, 24
GIRLS: 1. Ellington 12-1, 25 points, 2. Granby 12-1, 24, 3. Canton 11-2, 22, 4. Suffield 11, 21

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.

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