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Coventry ends Canton’s long winning streak; Canton girls still undefeated (9-0)

track graphic 2ELLINGTON, May 4 – It has been seven years since the Canton High boys track and field team lost a dual meet. The Warriors have captured 86 consecutive dual meets and 85 straight against NCCC opponents.

But undefeated Coventry was too strong on Thursday. The Patriots (9-0, 9-0 NCCC) won eight individual events and two relays to hand Canton their first loss since 2010 with a 97-53 decision. Connor Ratte swept the 800 and 1,600 meters for the Patriots while Nicholas Pronovost won the high jump and was second in the javelin, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles races.

Canton (8-1, 8-1 NCCC) did manage a split with a 76-74 win over Ellington.

“Coventry was definitely more than we could handle,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. “They are definitely aiming for the state title.”

The Canton High girls remained in contention for their first championship in outdoor track by beating Coventry, 109-35 and Ellington, 100-49, to remain undefeated at 9-0. The only other undefeated team left in the league among the girls teams is Suffield (8-0). Canton faces Suffield in the regular season finale on May 16 in Canton.

Chelsea Mitchell (100, 200), Emily Briggs (3,200, discus) and Amber Harraden (400, shot) each won two events for the Warriors.

Dustin Van Kirk had a big day for the Canton boys, winning three events (long jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles) while take a close second in the triple jump, just two inches off the winning jump. Van Kirk beat Coventry’s Nicholas Pronovost by 0.01 of a second in the 110 hurdles and 0.29 of a second in the 300 hurdles. Van Kirk’s times in both hurdles races were personal bests for the Warrior.

It was the first loss for the Canton boys since a 100-30 defeat to Ellington in the final dual meet of the season in May 2010.

Canton coach Tim O’Donnell didn’t think the streak would last so long. After a strong contingent of seniors graduated following the 2014 season, O’Donnell thought the streak might break. But the Warriors kept winning.

“Things broke our way. New kids would give track a try and others would make a big jump and somehow we snuck through a couple more years,” he said.

The closest call for the streak came early on in 2011 when Canton slipped past Somers, 77-73 and with a 12-point win over Coventry that same season, 81-69. In the last four years, the closest dual meet was a 23-point win over Coventry, 84-61 in 2015.

“I am pretty proud of the waves of kids who have helped the team do so well,” O’Donnell said. “It really has been a testament to their own initiative and competitiveness as they have all succeeded without the greatest facilities or all that much quality coaching. Each year’s group has made their own commitment to winning.”

Until 2014, Canton had no track facilities at all. Now, the Warriors have an outstanding facility but access can be limited since they share the complex with their fellow athletes who also play games and practice there as well.

In terms of coaching, O’Donnell is an experienced coach who will be honored as the state coach of the year in cross country next week (May 11) by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association. But the track coaching staff isn’t large. “Even if I did know what I was doing, it is hard to give adequate coaching when divided among so many different events,” he said, praising the athletes for their work to be prepared to compete.

Even with the loss, Canton remains in contention for an eighth consecutive league championship. Each team earns a point for each dual meet win and one point for each team they beat at the league championship meet. The Warriors will be hosting the league championship for the first time on Wednesday, May 24.

Canton (8-1) could earn a share of the championship if they finish the dual meet season with one loss and beat Coventry (9-0) at the championship meet.

The Canton girls looked sharp with a pair of wins Thursday to improve to 9-0. The Warriors won nine individual events and two of the three relay events.

Not only did Chelsea Mitchell, Amber Harraden and Emily Briggs each win two individual events but there was some strong depth. Emily Mitchell and Harraden each finished second in two events. Abbe Skinner was second in three events.

Jane Frawley won the 1,600 meters and was second in the 800 meters. Elizabeth Raynor won the pole vault. Cameron McCauley (3,200, 1,600) and Maddie Archangelo (high jump, 300 hurdles) each had a pair of top three finishes.

The Warriors return to action on Tuesday when they host Somers and Capital Prep at the high school beginning at 3:45 p.m.

Coventry 97, Canton 53
Coventry 102, Ellington 48
Canton 76, Ellington 74
At Ellington
4×800: Coventry 8:40.38, Canton 8:42.86, Ellington 8:53.40
4×100: Coventry 46.83, Ellington 46.93, Canton 49.30
100: Joshua Prouty (Ell) 12.22, Chase Prentiss (Cov) 12.26, Chaz Williams (Can) 12.27
200: Chase Prentiss (Cov) 24.82, Bryan Lamot (Cov) 24.92, Nicholas Pelletier (Ell) 25.06
400: Nicholas Pelletier (Ell) 53.65, Christopher Milne (Cov) 54.06, Bryan Lamot (Cov) 55.50
800: Connor Ratte (Cov) 2:16.08, Andy Obrzut (Can) 2:16.48, Jeremy Langdo (Cov) 2:16.59
1,600: Connor Raite (Cov) 4:32.06, Thomas Arbeiter (Ell) 4:32.33, Max Sparks (Can) 4:33.45
3,200: James Ney (Cov) 10:05.50, Max Sparks (Can) 10:19.75, Thomas Arbeiter (Ell) 10:23.76
110 hurdles: Dustin Van Kirk (Can) 15.48, Nicholas Pronovost (Cov) 15.49, Ryan Carlson (Cov) 16.87
300 hurdles: Dustin Van Kirk (Can) 41.57, Nicholas Pronovost (Cov) 41.86, Joshua Prouty (Ell) 42.36
4×400: Ellington 3:40.03, Canton 3:45.09, Coventry 3:49.49
Shot: Aedan Randall (Ell) 39-10, Zachary Webber (Ell) 39-4¾, David McArdle (Cov) 37-4½
Discus: Zachary Webber (Ell) 113-10, James Pelehach (Can) 111-3, Joseph Lanham (Cov) 103-1
Javelin: Andrew Dolan (Cov) 135-7, Nicholas Pronovost (Cov) 131-0, Jacob Berardo (Ell) 127-1
Long jump: Dustin Van Kirk (Can) 19-4½, Kwabena Obiekwu (Cov) 19-1½, Daniel Hendel (Cov) 18-1¼
Triple jump: Kwabena Obiekwu (Cov) 39-9½, Dustin Van Kirk (Can) 39-7½, Ryan Carlson (Cov) 37-7
High jump: Nicholas Pronovost (Cov) 5-10, Patrick Lagonigro (Can) 5-8.11, Peter Fuller (Can) 5-6
Pole vault: Christopher Milne (Cov) 9-0, Jeremy Langdo (Cov) 9-0, Tim Biondo (Can) 8-0
Records: Canton 8-1, Coventry 9-0, Ellington 6-2

Canton 109, Coventry 35
Canton 100, Ellington 49
Ellington 88, Coventry 50
At Ellington
4×800: Canton 11:20.45, Ellington 12:02.97
4×100: Ellington 54.49, Canton DQ
100: Chelsea Mitchell (Can) 13.31, Emily Mitchell (Can) 13.81), Clara Mattson (Ell) 14.09
200: Chelsea Mitchell (Can) 27.15, Emily Mitchell (Can) 28.94, Blakely Hale (Ell) 29.95
400: Amber Harraden (Can) 1:04.49, Victoria Chandler (Ell) 1:09.71, Lexi Neeley (Can) 1:10.77
800: Kathryn Germond (Cov) 2:33.06, Jane Frawley (Can) 2:35.12, Clara Mattson (Ell) 2:35.54
1,600: Jane Frawley (Can) 5:48.41, Samantha Carpino (Cov) 5:49.65, Cameron McCauley (Can) 6:15.67
3,200: Emily Briggs (Can) 13:22.60, Cameron McCauley (Can) 13:24.0, Helena Winkler (Can) 13:31.31
100 hurdles: Savanna Macaluso (Ell) 17.04, Abbe Skinner (Can) 18.60, Blakely Hale (Ell) 18.87
300 hurdles: Suzanne Pranger (Cov) 50.60, Savanna Macaluso (Ell) 50.63, Maddie Archangelo (Can) 52.07
4×400: Canton 4:28.17, Coventry 4:31.62, Ellington 4:58.54
Shot: Amber Harraden (Can) 30-6½, Kaitlyn Webber (Ell) 29-5½, Roselyn Anyah (Ell) 28-2½
Discus: Emily Briggs (Can) 81-8, Amber Harraden (Can) 81-3, Roselyne Anyah (Ell) 73-8
Javelin: Brooke Dutton (Cov) 83-3½, Amber Harraden (Can) 83-0½, Ariana Mason (Ell) 73-7
Long jump: Emily Mitchell (Can) 16-5¼, Megan Knowling (Ell) 16-1½, Sarah LePage (Cov) 14-10½
Triple jump: Megan Knowling (Ell) 36-6, Abbe Skinner (Can) 30-4½, Sarah LePage (Cov) 28-3
High jump: Megan Knowling (Ell) 5-0, Abbe Skinner (Can) 4-10, Maddie Archangelo (Can) 4-8
Pole vault: Elizabeth Raynor (Can) 7-0, Devin Kadis (Can) 6-0
Records: Canton 9-0, Ellington 6-2, Coventry 5-4

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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