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Five indoor school records fall as Canton track and field team prepares for NCCC

Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell takes the handoff from Abby Briggs helped the Warriors run to a school record in the distance medley at the Yale Invitational Friday in New Haven. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

HARTFORD, Jan. 21 – The Canton High indoor track team participated in a pair of invitational events and set five school records over the weekend in preparation for the upcoming North Central Connecticut Conference championships on Monday in New Haven at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

Six Canton athletes were in New Haven on Friday to compete in the 35th annual Yale Classic at historic Coxe Cage. A day later, the Warriors were in Hartford at Hartford Public for the NCCC Invitational.

At Yale, Canton’s Max Sparks set a new indoor school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:40.81 seconds. He was 29th overall but the eighth runner from Connecticut. Five of the seven runners ahead of him finished in the top 10 at the CIAC State Open cross country championships in November.

Sparks beat the time of 9:42.48 set by Mike LeDuc when he won the Class S championship in 2010.

Canton’s Jane Frawley also set a new school record in the 3,200 meters with her time of 11:56.63. She finished 56th overall in a very deep field. The 11th runner from Connecticut in the race, Frawley beat the time set by Kim Powell of 12:06.1 a decade ago in 2007.

Canton’s 4×200 relay team finished eighth in the Under 600 girls division with a school-record time of 1:51.32. The team of Maddie Archangelo, Emily Mitchell, Amber Harraden and Chelesa Mitchell were 10th in the official results but two Class LL teams from Greenwich and Hamden were not supposed to be in the race.

Canton’s Cami McCauley gets out of the way after handing off the baton to Chelsea Mitchell in Friday’s Yale Invitational (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

In the girls distance medley relay, Canton finished fourth with a school-record time of 13:36.15. The race consists of legs of 1,200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1,600 meters. The team of Cami McCauley, Abby Briggs, Mitchell and Frawley broke the old record, formerly held by Powell, Melissa Hambley, Caitlin Mahler and Doyle in 2007, by 25 seconds.

Other top times by the Warriors in the event came from Dustin Van Kirk, who was 33rd in the 300 meters with a time of 37.93 seconds and the boys 4×800 relay team (Aidan O’Donnell, Andy Obrzut, Peter Royer, Max Sparks) that was 15th with a time of 8:58.52 seconds.

The boys distance medley team (O’Donnell, Bradley Connelly, Obrzut, Sparks) also finished fourth with a time of 11:23.97.

On Saturday at the NCCC Invitational, Mitchell broke the school record in the 55 meter dash for the second time in a week. She finished first with a time of 7.58 seconds, breaking the mark of 7.67 seconds she ran a week ago at the Shoreline Invitational. That snapped the old record set by Katie Talbot in 2010.

Canton had several outstanding performances at the NCCC Invitational. Dustin Van Kirk won the 55 hurdles in 8.30 and was second in the long jump (19-8¾ feet).

Abby Briggs won the 600 meters with a season-best time of 1:48.80 and ran on Canton’s 4×400 relay (Briggs, Frawley, Amber Harraden, Mitchell) that was second with a time of 4:41.56.

Dustin Van Kirk won the 55 hurdles at the NCCC Invitational on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

On the boys side, Aidan O’Donnell was second in the 1,600 meters with at time of 5:00.19 seconds, just holding over Avon’s Matt Nyklicek (5:01.14). Canton’s Peter Royer was fifth in 5:25.18 while teammate Sean Richard was tenth in 5:40.53.

Sparks was also second in the 600 meters with a time of 1:32.37. Trent Sawtelle (12:03.70) was sixth in the 3,200 meters while teammate Sean Richard was tenth (12:43.70).

Canton’s 4×400 relay (Obrzut, Sparks, Jesse Waite, Van Kirk) finished second with a season-best time of 3:50.28.

The Warriors did well in the girls races, too. Mitchell won the 55 meters with a school record time but teammate Emily Mitchell finished eighth with a season-best time of 8.12 seconds. Katahdin Whitney finished fourth in the 55 hurdles (9.93 seconds) while Jane Frawley was fifth in the 1,000 meters in 3:26.58.

Helena Winkler was third in the 1,600 meters in 5:58.37 with teammate Cameron McCauley finishing sixth in 6:04.37. Mitchell was sixth in the long jump (15-0½) with Harraden taking third in the shot (31-1) and Madeline Archangelo finishing seventh in the high jump (4-6).

Canton’s 4×200 relay (Archangelo, Kaylida Bailey, Harraden, Whitney) was fourth in 2:01.38.

The Warriors will be at the Jack Long Invitational on Saturday in preparation for Monday’s NCCC championship meet. Ellington is the favorite on both sides of the aisle for the boys and girls championships but the Warriors should be competitive.

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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