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Youngsters excel at Lobster Loop road race

Runners take off at the start of the 2016 Canton Lobster Loop road race. Simsbury's Solomon Davis (237) beat Kyle Heubner (91) to become the youngest winner in race history.

Runners take off at the start of the 2016 Canton Lobster Loop road race. Simsbury’s Solomon Davis (237) beat Kyle Heubner (91) to become the youngest winner in race history.

CANTON, August 21 – The high school cross country season is just a few weeks away and Sunday’s 25th annual Lobster Loop road race was a welcome break in training for many area runners.

Eight of the top 10 finishers in the 3.1-mile race will be competing on the high school circuit this fall, including 16-year-old Solomon Davis of Simsbury who pulled away in the last mile to win the race in 16:35. Simsbury High graduate Kyle Heubner was second in 17:07 with Canton’s Jake Whittingslow finishing third with a time of 17:13.

Davis, who will be a junior this fall at Simsbury High, is the youngest runner to win the race. He breaks the record set by Robert Dwyer of Winsted, who was 17 when he won the race in 1998.

On the woman’s side, Avon’s Sara Leavens became the youngest woman to win the race by finishing 18th with a time of 20:32. Leavens beat Barkhamsted’s Sue Mantie, a three-time winner of the race, who finished with a time of 20:55.

Simsbury's Solomon Davis nears the finish.

Simsbury’s Solomon Davis nears the finish.

Leavens erases the record set by Goshen’s Sammi Glass, who was 17 when she won the woman’s race for the first time in 2013.

“Our coach wanted us to be out here getting ready for the season,” said Davis, who was 15th in last year’s CIAC Class LL championships and was fast enough to compete at the State Open for Simsbury. “It was fun.”

Heubner, who runs for a club team at the University of Pennsylvania, stayed with Davis for the first half of the race. “He just went out too fast (for me),” Heubner said. Davis had a comfortable 32-second victory.

Close behind in third and fourth place were two competitors who should be two of the top runners on Canton High’s boys cross country team this fall. Whittingslow was third with a time of 17:13 while Max Sparks was just three seconds behind his Warrior teammate in fourth place with a time of 17:16.

Avon's Sara Leavens

Avon’s Sara Leavens

Leavens, who will be a junior this fall, was a starter on Avon High’s varsity squad that won a Class MM state championship last November. This was her first race since last April when she was injured in the outdoor track campaign.

“It was hot and I went out really fast,” she said. “It felt good. I like to try and catch up with the boys and see if I can go faster.”

Leavens led for virtually the entire race. Her quick start was too much for Mantie, who last won this race in 2001, to overcome. The third woman in the race was Canton High senior Jane Frawley, who finished with a time of 21:20.

“This is just the start (of the season),” Leavens said.

NOTES: Whittingslow and Frawley received awards for being the first runners from Canton to cross the finish line. There were 360 runners that finished the race, the lowest turnout in 10 years since 2006 when 303 runners completed the event. … The race is sponsored by the Canton Middle School PTO organization. Proceeds go to the PTO.

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Young and older runners hit the pavement.

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Runners head out at the Lobster Loop.

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Nearing the finish line

2016 Canton Lobster Loop road race
At Canton
Overall: 1. Solomon Davis, Simsbury, 16:35 for 3.1 miles; 2. Kyle Heubner, Simsbury, 17:07; 3. Jake Whittingslow, Canton, 17:13; 4. Max Sparks, Canton, 17:16; 5. Sam Nanni, West Hartford, 18:04; 6. Jon Hernandez, Avon, 18:53; 7. Tom Benneche, Chicago, 19:03; 8. Bruce Christensen, Bolton, 19:15; 9. Aidan O’Donnell, Canton, 19:20; 10. Ian Albreski, Avon, 19:26
Top women: 1. Sara Leavens (18th overall), Avon, 20:32 for 3.1 miles; 2. Susan Mantie, Barkhamsted (23), 20:55; 3. Jane Frawley (28), Canton, 21:20. 4. Sara Stokesbury (33), Avon, 21:33; 5. Ashleigh Stephen (36), Avon, 21:42; 6. Christine Oberhausen (43), Avon, 22:16; 7. Abby Briggs (46), Canton, 22:23; 8. Katieann Pirog (47), Winsted, 22:27; 9. Lindsey Hurd (51), South Windsor, 22:43; 10. Michelle Hiscox, Canton, 23:03

2016 Canton Lobster Loop road race: Overall race results

2016 Canton Lobster Loop road race: Age group results

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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