Sparks is 2nd at Festival of Champions in Maine; Canton girls undefeated in NCCC

Canton senior Max Sparks was second at the Maine Festival of Champions Saturday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

BELFAST, Maine, Sept. 30 – The Canton High cross country decided to challenge once again themselves this weekend by competing in the Maine Festival of Champions at Trey Howard Middle School – the site of this year’s New England cross country championships.

There were 80 boys and 80 girls teams and nearly 1,900 runners at the race including 10 boys teams and nine girls teams that competed in last year’s New England championships. Most teams were from Maine but there were 15 teams from outside Maine and two from Canadian provinces.

Senior Max Sparks continued his strong season by taking second overall with a time of 15:41.42 seconds, which only trailed two-time champion Luke Laverdiere of Yarmouth, Maine, who fell four seconds short of breaking the course record with a time of 15:10.86 in the boys seeded race.

“Max’s performance was obviously impressive,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. “His time ranks as the 10th fastest time in any race on that course.”

Laverdiere was hoping to set a new course record and broke away early. Sparks worked his way up into second place, breaking away from the pack of runners to move into second place. Senior teammate Aidan O’Donnell was 40th with a time of 16:51.93.

Nick Lagonigro and teammate James Szpekman earned medals. Lagonigro took sixth in the boys unseeded race with a time of 18:10.74 while Szpekman was tenth with a time of 18:22.13. The Festival of Champions ran three races each for boys and girls – seeded, unseeded and freshmen.

In the girls freshman race, Julia Caputo earned a medal with a tenth place performance and her time of 20:06.90.

The Festival of Champions released overall results compiled by merging the times of each race. The Canton boys finished 15th out of 62 teams while the Canton girls were 18th out of 62 teams that scored.

It was the fourth trip for Canton to Belfast and the Festival of Champions. They had previously competed here in 2005, 2010 and 2016.

Festival of Champions
At Belfast, Maine
Boys team results – 1. Concord NH 58, 2. East Greenwich RI 123, 3. Nashua North NH 139, 4. Falmouth ME 156, 5. Greely, ME 243
15. Canton 492

Canton boys results, overall — 2. Max Sparks 15:41.42, 40. Aidan O’Donnell 16:51.93, 157. Nick Lagonigro 18:10.74, 176. Matt Webb 18:17.03, 192. James Szpekman 18:22.13, 193. Andy Obrzut 18:22.59, 245. Sean Richard 18:39.43
933 finishers
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Festival of Champions
At Belfast, Maine
Girls team results — Glastonbury CT 115, 2. Camden Hills ME 228, 3. Cumberland RI 240, East Greenwich RI 278, 5. Yarmouth ME 284; 18. Canton 579
Canton girls results, overall — 50. Julia Caputo 20:06.90, 68. Jane Frawley 20:31.43, 70. Helena Winkler 20:32.56, 136. Belle Magna 21:31.73, 316. Lila Hunt 23:23.22, 336. Hannah Sevigny 23:37.66, 459. Savanna Kishnig 24:57
749 finishers

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CROSS COUNTRY
Canton boys, girls sweep three
COVENTRY, Sept. 27 — Earlier in the week, the Canton girls put four runners in the top eight to sweep Granby, Coventry and Rockville to remain the only undefeated team left in the North Central Connecticut Conference. Jane Frawley beat teammate Julia Caputo by 22 seconds to win the dual meet at Creaser Park in Coventry. Canton improves to 7-0 with the three victories with Somers, Granby and Ellington each standing at 7-1.

In the boys race, Max Sparks continued to remain undefeated in dual meets with his third straight win as the Warriors improved to 6-1 with victories over Granby, Coventry and Rockville at Creaser Park. Suffield leads the league at 8-0 with Canton (6-1), Ellington (7-1) and Somers (7-1) with one loss each.

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Canton 23, Granby 32
Canton 19, Coventry 38
Canton 15, Rockville 48
Granby 21, Coventry 38
Granby 15, Rockville 50
Coventry 20, Rockville 35
At Coventry
Winner – Jane Frawley (Canton) 21:52 for 3.1 miles at Creaser Park, 2. Julia Caputo (Canton) 22:14; 3. Jessica Gerace (G) 22:19, 4. Helena Winkler (Canton) 22:35, 5. K. Germond (Coventry) 23:04, 6. A. Briggs (G) 23:16, 7. Kennedy Baggott (G) 23:32, 8. Belle Magna (Canton) 23:36, 9. Erin Gilhooly (G) 24:26; 10. B. Buske (Coventry) 24:37
Records: Canton 7-0, Granby 7-1, Coventry 6-2, Rockville 1-8

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Canton 24, Granby 31
Canton 18, Coventry 43
Canton 15, Rockville 50
Granby 20, Coventry 40
Granby 15, Rockville 47
Rockville 28, Coventry 29
At Coventry
Winner – Max Sparks (Canton) 16:49 for 3.1 miles at Creaser Park. New course record (old record, Taylor Ney, Coventry, 17:01 in 2016), 2. Aiden O’Donnell (Canton) 17:56, 3. Taylor Ney (Coventry) 18:036, 4. E. Holm (G) 19:04; 5. Chris Weber (G) 19:15, 6. Simon Matthews (G) 19:28, 7. Matt Webb (Canton) 19:40, 8. James Szpekman (Canton) 19:43; 9. Andy Obrzut (Canton) 19:57, 10. Nate Orluk (G) 19:59
Records: Canton 6-1, Granby 6-2, Coventry 4-4, Rockville 2-7

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