CANTON, Feb. 6 – It was a cold, January afternoon and Canton High coach Tim O’Donnell gave the athletes on the boys and girls indoor track team a choice. Since it was about 15 degrees, they could have their daily run in the hallways or go outside and workout on the track.
Nearly half ventured outside.
“They’re tough and they’re good athletes,” O’Donnell said.
Canton’s girls indoor track team showed their toughness on Monday night winning their first-ever conference championship with a seven-point win over Ellington, 130-123. Freshman Chelsea Mitchell won two events, Jane Frawley and Amber Harraden won events while the Warriors won two relays.
The Canton boys team finished second to Ellington for the fifth straight year as Dustin Van Kirk and Max Sparks each won two individual events for the Warriors.
The Warriors’ girls track team isn’t large. There are just 14 athletes on the team. So, everyone participates and they compete in multiple events.
“There is no one that says I only want to do one event,” O’Donnell said. “We try to put all of the girls into situations where they can keep contributing. This is a very good team athletically. We have a lot of flexibility (to put girls in multiple events).
Canton set seven new school records at the NCCC championship meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center on the campus of Hillhouse High School in New Haven.
Mitchell broke her own records in the 300 meters (43.30 seconds) and the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.56 seconds. Canton’s 4×400 relay (Madeline Archangelo, Sophia Langou, Abby Briggs, Amber Harraden) broke the school record with a winning time of 4:24.81 seconds, nearly nine seconds ahead of second place Suffield.
Harraden broke her own school record winning the shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches. Archanelo set a new record with her leap of 4-10 in the high jump, good enough for third place. Pole vaulter Elizabeth Raynor (7-feet) and long jumper Emily Mitchell (15 feet, 11 inches) each finished third with school-record performances.
Points were valuable on Monday night. Frawley won the 1,000 meters with a sprint to the finish. She finished first with a time of 3:16.49, nearly 10 seconds better than her previous best time this winter. Frawley won the race by 0.12 of a second over Ellington’s Jenni Giacalore with Coventry’s Samantha Carpino in third, just 0.13 of a second behind.
First place was worth 10 points. Athletes earned eight points for second place and six for third place.
Mitchell won the 55 meters by 0.09 of a second over Classical’s Kadian Pryce. She is the first Canton girl to win multiple events at the NCCC championships.
Canton also won the 4×200 (Kaylia Bailey, Emily Mitchell, Madeline Archangelo, Chelsea Mitchell) in 1:52.35, was third in the 1,600 meter sprint medley relay (Bailey, Langou, Abby Briggs, Frawley) with a time of 4:40.82. The Warriors were fifth in the 4×800 relay (Cameron McCauley, Jocelyn Rossitto, Lily Grabowski, Helena Winkler).
Briggs took second in the 600 meters with a time of 1:49.18 while Canton had three runners among the top six in the 3,200 meters with Frawley (12:33.55) taking third, Winkler (12:43.75) finishing fifth and McCauley (13:00.81) taking sixth.
Previously, the best finish for Canton at the NCCC championships was third in 2011 and 2009.
The Warriors will be competing in the Class S championships on Saturday here in New Haven.
In the boys competition, Van Kirk and Sparks each won a pair of events – the first multiple winners for the boys since Keith Wilson won three events in 2014.
Van Kirk won the 55 hurdles in 8.18 seconds, beating Ellington’s Joshua Prouty with a time of 8.44 seconds. Van Kirk also won the 300 meters by just 0.04 of a second with a time 37.84 seconds, outleaning Ellington’s Nicholas Pelletier to win the championship. Van Kirk was also second in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, six inches.
Sparks won the 1,000 meters by more than six seconds with a time of 2:41.46 and captured the 3,200 meters by more than six seconds with a time of 10:04.45. In his third event, Sparks took second in the 1,600 meters.
Other top performances from Canton came from Brandon LeClair, who finished fifth in the pole vault with a leap of eight feet and seventh in the long jump (18-8¼), Patrick Lagonigro, who was sixth in the high jump (5-6), Jesse Waite, who was fourth in the 300 meters (38.68), Aidan O’Donnell, who was fifth in the 3,200 meters (10:44.22) and Chaz Williams, who finished fifth in the 55 hurdles in 8.70 seocnds.
All four Canton relays finished in the top four of their respective events.
The 4×200 relay (Chaz Williams, Bradley Connolly, Matt Pickett, Jesse Waite) was third in 1:40.74 along with the 4×800 relay (Trent Sawtelle, Peter Royer, James Szpekman, Aidan O’Donnell) with a time of 9:16.04.
Canton’s 4×400 relay (Matt Baron, Connolly, Lagonigro, Andrew Obrzut) was fourth in 3:56.34 as was the 1,600 meter sprint medley relay (Brandon LeClair, Matt Pickett, Connolly, Obrzut) in 4:02.70.
Ellington won the NCCC championship for the sixth straight year with 147 points with Canton taking second with 104 points. Suffield was a distant third with 68 points.
The Canton boys will also be competing at Saturday’s Class S championship meet in New Haven.