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Three Canton athletes earn first team All-State honors

Canton junior Max Sparks earned All-State honors by finishing second in Saturday’s Class SS championship race at Wickham Park in Manchester. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

CANTON — Three Canton High athletes earned All-State honors this fall for their performance on the field. Cross country runners Max Sparks and Emily Briggs earned All-State honors along with field hockey player Grace Giancola.

Volleyball player Amber Harraden and field hockey player Alexa Szczepanski earned second team All-State honors. Twelve Canton athletes earned All-NCCC honors while football players Alex Higley and Jerry LeFave earned All-Pequot Western Division recognition.

Sparks, who became the first Canton boy to win a NCCC championship, finished second in the Class SS race with a then season-best time of 16:38. At the State Open, he finished 20th in 16:27. He missed All-New England honors by 0.76 of a second, finishing 26th in 16:05.

Canton’s Emily Briggs (341) and Belle Magna run in Friday’s NCCC championship race in Windsor Locks. (Photo courtesy BIll Brewster)

Briggs earned All-State honors by finishing fifth in Class SS with a season-best time of 20:19. She helped the Warriors earn a wild card invitation as a team to the State Open for the first time since 1996.

Canton’s Grace Giancola had a career-high four goals in the Warriors’ 7-1 victory over Southington. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Giancola, who has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at the University of Vermont in the spring of 2018, scored a team-leading 28 goals this fall. She finished her career in Canton with 60 goals, good enough for No. 4 on the all-time field hockey list for career goals.

Boys Cross Country

MVP: Max Sparks
Sportsmanship Award: Peter Royer 
Coach’s Award: Trent Sawtelle
All-NCCC: Max Sparks
All-State: Max Sparks

Girls Cross Country

MVP: Emily Briggs
Sportsmanship Award: Lindsay LaClair
Coach’s Award: Cameron McCauley
All-NCCC: Emily Briggs, Abigail Briggs, Belle Magna, Helena Winkler
All-State: Emily Briggs

Field Hockey

MVP: Grace Giancola
Sportsmanship Award: Allison Bahre
Coach’s Award: Leah Eschenbrenner
All-NCCC: Emily Gabrielian, Grace Giancola, Elizabeth Raynor, Alexa Szczepanski
All-State 1st team: Grace Giancola
All-State 2nd team: Alexa Szczepanski


MVP: Jerry LeFave
Sportsmanship Award: Benjamin Robinson
Coach’s Award: Alex Higley
All-Pequot West: Alex Higley, Jerry LeFave

Boys Soccer

MVP: Santiago Noriega
Sportsmanship Award: Bradley Connolly
Coach’s Award: DJ Clement
All-NCCC: Santiago Noriega

Girls Soccer

MVP: Emily Mitchell
Sportsmanship Award: Allison Celmer
Coach’s Award: Devin Kadis
Most Improved Award: Chelsea Mitchell
All-NCCC: Emily Mitchell


MVP: Amber Harraden
Sportsmanship Award: Denise Ronan
Coach’s Award: Rachel Falzone
All-NCCC: Amber Harraden
All-State: Amber Harraden (2nd team)

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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