NEW BRITAIN, June 2 – The Canton High boys track and field team had gotten used to its lofty perch among the contenders at the Class S championship meet. For the past five years, the Warriors had finished either first or second. Canton brought home state championships in 2011 and 2013.
On Thursday, Canton had some good performances but not nearly enough to remain in contention for some hardware. The Warriors finished sixth with 40 points – its lowest finish since 2009. The undermanned Canton girls – a team of just 12 athletes — finished eighth with 20 points, matching its best-ever finish from 2014.
Senior Will Briggs won his first state championship by winning by 13 feet in the discus while sophomore Max Sparks took second in the 1,600 meters. Senior John Solomon was third in the 300 hurdles. Senior Stephen Oliver was fourth in the pole vault. On the girls side, the Warriors set a new school record in taking second in the 4×100 relay. Senior Lucy Tanner finished fourth in the 100 hurdles.
The top five athletes in each event qualified for next week’s State Open championships in New Britain. The Bloomfield High boys won a record 10th straight state championship with a dominating 144-84 win over Old Saybrook. Derby was a distant third with 61½ points. The Bloomfield High girls captured their ninth straight state title with a 157-81 win over Coginchaug. Immaculate was third with 57 points.
Briggs continued his dominant run in the discus this season with a throw of 158 feet and two inches. He easily outlasted Bloomfield’s Khryin Williams (145-02). Briggs also was 10th in the shot (41-5½) and 16th in the javelin (127-07).
Sparks ran a season-best time of 4:35.01 to finish second in the 1,600 meters behind Coventry’s Connor Ratte, who ran away with a time of 4:26.28. Sparks also took sixth in the 3,200 with a time of 10:11.20.
Solomon took third in the 300 hurdles with a career-best time of 40.56 with teammate Dustin Van Kirk taking ninth in 42.78 seconds. In the 110 hurdles, Solomon was sixth with a time of 16.05 seconds, followed closely by Van Kirk in seventh in 16.25.
In the pole vault, Oliver made his first five attempts, clearing a school record height of 12 feet. He finished fourth. Cameron Lange had a personal-best leap of 20-1¼ feet in the long jump to finish fifth and earn a spot at the State Open.
Canton’s 4×100 relay team (Matthew Pickett, Lange, Jesse Waite, Solomon) had the second fastest time in school history with a 45.44. But it was a competitive field and the Warriors finished ninth overall.
Van Kirk also finished tenth in the triple jump with a leap of 39-5½ feet.
The Canton girls 4×100 relay team (Sofia Langou, Amber Harraden, Emily Mitchell, Lucy Tanner) set a new school record with a time of 50.56 seconds, breaking the old record of 50.61 seconds set in 2014. Mitchell, Tanner and Harraden were on that 2014 team.
Canton finished second behind Bloomfield, which won the race in 47.07. But Canton had to hustle to beat out Old Saybrook, who finished a close third with a time of 50.90 seconds.
Tanner had a pair of top 10 finishes in the hurdles. She was fourth in the 100 hurdles in 16.45 seconds and seventh in the 300 hurdles in 49.41 seconds. Elizabeth Raynor matched her own school record in the pole vault, clearing 7-6 and finishing 10th.
Canton’s 4×800 relay team (Jane Frawley, Abby Briggs, Cameron McCauley, Emily Briggs) set a new school record with a time of 10:14.52, eclipsing the old mark set in 2014. It was good enough for sixth place, one place shy of a State Open invitation.
Other top 10 finishes came from Abbe Skinner, who was eighth in the high jump with a season-high leap of 4-8, Amber Harraden who was 10th in the 400 meters (1:01.80) and Emily Mitchell, who finished 10th in the 200 meters in 27.52 seconds.