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In dominating performance, Avon girls race to 3rd state title in four years – The Collinsville Press
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Cross Country

In dominating performance, Avon girls race to 3rd state title in four years

The Avon High girls cross country team won their third Class MM championship in four years with a dominating win over RHAM Saturday. (Photo courtesy Nicole Leavens)

MANCHESTER, Oct. 28 – A year ago, the RHAM girls cross country team had four girls in the top 20 to unseat Avon as the Class MM champions. The Falcons finished second but haven’t let that memory slip away from them.

Avon ran with a mission to accomplish Saturday morning at the CIAC Class MM championship meet at Wickham Park in Manchester. Not only did the Falcons win their third Class MM state title in the last four years but they won it convincingly.

Avon had four runners in the top 11 and five in the top 15 as they scored a school-record low 39 points to bring home the championship. RHAM was a distant second with 73 points while East Lyme was third with 100 points.

Senior Emily Foley led the way for Avon by finishing second in the race with a time of 20:21 – her best time of the season at Wickham. Watertown’s Bethany Ottowitz won the race in 19:31. It was the second time in the last three events that Foley has led the Falcons. Foley won Avon’s final dual meet of the season earlier this month against Farmington and Innovation.

Sophomore Rhiannon Richmond was fifth for Avon in 20:34 – also her best time of the year at Wickham Park – with senior teammate Sara Leavens finishing sixth in 20:36.

“The reason this team has won three state titles and finished second the other year in a four-year span is due to their hard work, discipline and heart,” Avon High coach Al Dadario said.

Senior’s Rachel Martin and Ashley Martin finished 11th (21:07) and 15th (21:27), respectively. For both girls, it was their best races of the season at Wickham. It was Avon’s third race of the year at Wickham Park, which hosted the CCC championships a week ago and the Wickham Park Invitational in early October.

RHAM had two runners in the top 10 (fourth, seventh) and another runner in the top 20 (13th place). Avon’s 35 points was the fewest points by a Class MM champion since 2011 when Guilford had Class MM record-low 30 points.

With the championship – Avon’s fourth state title under Dadario, the Falcons earned an invitation to Friday’s State Open championships also here at Wickham Park beginning at 2 p.m. Avon has won eight state championships in girls cross country since they took home their first pennant in 1984.

The Falcons won the Class MM title in 2014 and 2015 before finishing second to RHAM last year. 

Avon finished 11-5 this fall and 9-5 in the CCC West Patriot. As members of the CCC West Patriot Division, Avon dropped dual meets to Glastonbury and Hall this fall. Glastonbury won the CCC and Class LL championships while Hall was fourth in Class LL and second in the CCC.

“This year’s team I will never forget. They have meant the world to me,” Dadario said. “They will be hard to replace.”

The Avon High boys cross country team finished 11th in Class MM. (Photo courtesy Bill Stokesbury)

In the Class MM boys race, the Falcons finished 11th led by Anish Rajamanickam, who was 26th with a time of 18:20. Teammate Matthew Nyklicek was close behind in 27th place with a time of 18:24. The last time that Avon finished outside the top 10 was in 2003 when the Falcons were 14th in Class M.

Individual results — 26. Anish Rajamanickam 18:20; 27. Matthew Nyklicek 18:24, 49. Daniel Varvalho 18:49, 78. Jack Stokesbury 19:37, 82. John Hagan 19:40, 84. Jonny Ross 19:41, 87, Brian Lancaster 19:47

Team results – 1. Avon 39, 2. RHAM 73, 3. East Lyme 100, 4. Tolland 126, 5. Mercy 145
Individual results — 2. Emily Foley 20:21, 5. Rhiannon Richmond 20:34, 6. Sara Leavens 20:36, 11. Rachel Martin 21:07, 15. Ashley Martin 21:27, 23. Caroline Luby 21:52, 32. Rachel Nori 22:31


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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