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It takes a team to lift Canton girls to 2nd straight NCCC title with 1-point win

The Canton High girls indoor track and field team beat Suffield by one point to win their second straight NCCC championship. (Photo courtesy Christine Mitchell)

SUFFIELD, February 1 – Many athletes have heard their coach say that in order to win, we need contributions from everyone. And then, they watch a small group of talented athletes get the job done.

It was really true for the Canton High girls indoor track and field team.

The Warriors won their second straight North Central Connecticut Conference championship on Thursday but they needed every single point they could muster to hold off talented teams from Suffield and Ellington.

Sophomore Chelsea Mitchell won three individual events and Jane Frawley won a NCCC championship in the 1,000 meters as the Warriors nipped Suffield by one point, 116-115 to win the league title. It’s the closest margin of victory this century.

The majority of the meet was held at Hartford Public on Wednesday. It was concluded on Thursday at Suffield High because there isn’t enough room at HPHS to safely stage the pole vaulting event. Canton wasn’t assured of the title until Lexi Neeley cleared a height in the pole vault to finish fifth.

In the boys competition, Ellington beat Suffield, 107-96 to win their seventh straight NCCC indoor title with Canton taking third behind a pair of first place finishes from senior Max Sparks in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters and Peter Fuller in the high jump.

Chelsea Mitchell, left, won three events at the NCCC championships to help the Warriors win their second straight league title. Julia Caputo, right, was second in two events. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

The Canton girls have just 17 runners on the team, including nine freshmen. They were just five athletes back from last year’s team that captured their first-ever league championship.

“We told them to go out and do your best because every point matters,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. “We emphasized on placing and being able to keep on answering the bell.”

The ability to be flexible and adaptable helped, too. Snow on Tuesday postponed the NCCC championship meet and it was moved to Hartford Public because the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven was booked for another track meet.

It was gracious of Hartford Public to offer their facility but their indoor track is just 160 meters long. The track in New Haven and most indoor facilities in the state are 200 meters long. That means, for example, athletes used to running eight laps for the 1,600 meters now have to run 10.

It’s an adjustment but it’s an adjustment for all of the competitors.

The Warriors had a challenge they had to contend with on their own with a costly disqualification.

Canton’s 1,600 meter sprint medley relay team (Kaylia Bailey, Lila Hunt, Brooke Shepard, Jane Frawley) won the race by a whopping 10 seconds but the team was disqualified because the O’Donnell made a mistake on the list of potential runners for the relay that he submitted – leaving off a runner who ran in the race.

Ten points were wiped off the board for Canton.

While the Warriors were disappointed, they didn’t hang their heads. If they had huddled together afterward, they might have told O’Donnell, “We got your back on this one, coach.” The Warriors simply went back to work. With most Canton athletes were competing in three events, there was little time to sulk.

“You’ve got to be ready for anything,” O’Donnell said.

Mitchell won the 55 meters, 300 meters and long jump. She won the 55 meters (7.54) by 0.27 of a second over Stafford’s Carlie Dreyfus and won the 300 meters (42.64) by 2.6 seconds. Mitchell won the long jump by 8 ½ inches with a leap of 16-11½.

It was her second straight NCCC titles in the 55 meters and 300 meters.

Frawley dominated in winning the 1,000 meters with a time of 3:20.47, more than six seconds ahead of Ellington’s Kathyrn Bonnano.

Freshman Julia Caputo took second in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters while Maddy Archangelo was second in the high jump with a leap of 5-0 feet, tying her own school record.

Canton’s 4×200 (Kaylia Bailey, Ava Lashgari, Maya Sutton-Hall, Brooke Shepard) and 4×400 (Hunt, Frawley, Sutton-Hall, Shepard) each finished second while the 4×800 relay team (Emma Gallant, Helena Winkler, Caputo, Rebecca Lagonigro) finished third.

Strong finishes helped Canton throughout the evening. Hunt finished fifth in the 600 meters, beating HMTCA’s Makenna Lindsay by 0.06 of a second, securing another point for the Warriors. In the 300 meters, Maddy Archangelo was fourth beating Somers’ Lauren Eastwood by 0.20 of a second to secure another point.

Canton had three runners in the top six in the 300 meters led by Mitchell, who won it, Archangelo, who was fourth and Maya Sutton-Hall, who finished sixth.

In the 1,600 meters, Caputo and Winkler finished second and third, respectively for the Warriors. In the 3,200 meters, Caputo and Winkler were second and fourth, respectively. In the long jump, Mitchell was first and Archangelo was sixth.

“The kids were pretty resilient,” O’Donnell said. “We had a good day. We were able to do good things despite a wave of attrition.”

The Canton boys had finished second for six straight years. But they were passed by Suffield this year with 96 points while the Warriors had 86.

Max Sparks, left, won two events for the Warriors at the NCCC championships and finished second in a third event. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

For the second straight year, Sparks won a pair of NCCC championships. A year ago, he won the 1,000 and 3,200 meters. This year, Sparks won the 1,600 meters by 0.25 of a second beating Coventry’s Taylor Ney to the line with a time of 4:38.88 seconds. Sparks had an easier time winning the 3,200 meters by 12½ seconds with a time of 10:05.82.

Sparks also took second in the 1,000 meters with a time of 2:38.08, just 0.15 off the pace set by Suffield’s Jared Sharp.

Fuller won the high jump with a leap of 6-0 feet, tying the record he currently shares with John Solomon.

Aidan O’Donnell had three top six finishes – taking third in the 1,600 meters, fourth in the 3,200 meters and fifth in the 55 hurdles. Andrew Obrzut was fourth in the 600 meters, Timothy Biondo was sixth in the pole vault while Brandon LaClair was sixth in the long jump and seventh in the pole vault.

The relay teams did well. The 4×800 (James Szpekman, Nicholas Lagonigro, Matt Barton, Sean Miscikoski) was fourth with a time of 9:32.99 while the 4×400 relay (Barton, Michael Cavanaugh, Obrzut, Szpekman) was also fourth with a time of 3:58.17. Canton’s 4×200 relay team (LaClair, Fuller, Cavanaugh, Obrzut) was sixth.

The Warriors will be competing in the Class S championships in New Haven on Saturday, February 10, at 4:30 p.m.

2018 NCCC indoor track and field championships
At Hartford Public

BOYS

Team results – 1. Ellington 107, 2. Suffield 96, 3. Canton 86, 4. Granby 76, 5. Stafford 50, 6. Windsor Locks 39, 7. Coventry 32, 8. SMSA 32, 9. East Windsor 24, 10. Hartford Classical 21, 11. Rockville 16, 12. East Granby 12, 13. Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) 9, 14. Bolton 2

4×200: 1. Ellington 1:40.31, 2. Suffield 1:41.37, 3. Stafford 1:42.61, 6. Canton (Brandon LaClair, Michael Cavanaugh, Peter Fuller, Andrew Obrzut) 1:44.10

4×800: 1. Suffield 9:12.20, 2. Stafford 9:18.53, 3. Ellington 9:26.04, 4. Canton (James Szpekman, Nicholas Lagonigro, Matt Barton, Sean Miscikoski) 9:32.99, 6. Granby (Elijah Holt, Rhys Samalus, Cameron Rathke, Luke Jennings) 10:15.44

55 hurdles: 1. Joshua Prouty, Ellington 8.46, 2. Raphael Mena, SMSA, 8.68, 3. Connor Cahill, Ellington, 8.76; 5. Aidan O’Donnell, Canton, 9.40, 7. Michael Cavanaugh, Canton

55 meters: 1. Keon Lawrence, Granby 6.73, 2. Jaequan Grant, East Granby, 6.82, 3. Adam Muzi, Rockville, 6.87

1000: 1. Jared Sharp, Suffield, 2:37.53, 2. Max Sparks, Canton, 2:38.08, 3. Joshua Stone, Ellington, 2:43.04; 6. Matt Barton, Canton, 3:01.27

600: 1. Caleb Tarbell, Windsor Locks, 1:29.27, 2. Alek Cotnoir, Suffield, 1:30.29, 3. Brett Mockalis, Suffield, 1:31.55; 4. Andrew Obrzut, Canton, 1:31.58, 5. Joseph Wix, Granby, 1:32.76, 8. James Szpekman, Canton, 1:33.96

1,600 meters: 1. Max Sparks, Canton, 4:38.88, 2. Taylor Ney, Coventry, 4:39.13, 3. Aidan O’Donnell, Canton, 4:43.63

Sprint medley relay: 1. Ellington 3:57.69, 2. Stafford 4:06.81, 3. Classical 4:07.82; 6. Granby (Luke Jennings, A. Karadimas, Jeremy Mitchell, Conor Hennessy) 4:18.56, 8. Canton (Andrew Cavanaugh, Keith Thomas, Justin Conforti, Sean Miscikoski) 4:38.43

300 meters: 1. Joshua Prouty, Ellington, 38.14, 2. Jahmari Charles, East Windsor, 38.36, 3. Jared Sharp, Suffield, 38.59; 5. Keon Lawrence, Granby, 39.29, 8. Andel Smith, Granby 39.66

3,200 meters: 1. Max Sparks, Canton 10:05.82, 2. Taylor Ney, Coventry, 10:18.48, 3. Kyle Englander, Suffield, 10:21.00, 4. Aidan O’Donnell, Canton, 10:31.59

4×400 relay: 1. Suffield and Ellington 3:48.82, 3. Granby (Alex Oliver, Simon Matthews, Andel Smith, Joseph Wix) 3:55.78, 4. Canton (Matt Barton, Andrew Obrzut, Michael Cavanaugh, James Szpekman) 3:58.17

Long jump: 1. Keon Lawrence, Granby 20-7.5, 2. Andel Smith, Granby 20-6.5, 3. Dave Stewart, Granby, 19-7; 5. Jacob Dunham, Granby, 19-3.5, 6. Brandon LaClair, Canton, 19-3, 8. Jeremy Mitchell, Granby, 17-11

Shot: 1. Aedan Randall, Ellington, 46-0, 2. John Pintavalle, SMSA, 41-3, 3. Darrien Stephens, Windsor Locks 40-11; 6. Jacob Dunham, Granby 37-6

Pole vault: 1. Joshua Prouty, Ellington, 11-6, 2. Andrew Napolitano, Stafford, 11-0, 3. Dylan Dingivin, Granby 10-6; 6. Timothy Biondo, Canton 9-0, 7. Brandon LaClair, Canton, 9-0, 8. Samuel O’Neil, Granby 8-0

High jump: 1. Peter Fuller, Canton 6-0, 2. James Missel, Stafford, 5-8, 3. Hunter Couchon, Windsor Locks, 5-8; 8. Connor Hennessy, Granby and Mark Jones, Granby, 5-2

GIRLS

Team results – 1. Canton 116, 2. Suffield 115, 3. Ellington 76, 4. Coventry 74½, 5. Coventry 59, 6. Stafford 52, 7. Hartford Classical 20, 8. Windsor Locks 18, 9. Somers 17, 10. Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) 10, 11. Rockville 9½, 12. East Granby 5

4×200: 1. Stafford (Carlie Dreyfus, Erin Duffy, Tessa Kopec, Lynesay Maloney 1:56.96, 2. Canton (Kaylia Bailey, Maya Sutton-Hall, Ava Lashgari, Brooke Shepard) 1:58.58, 3. Ellington 1:59.80; 8. Granby (Lexi Cyr, Michelle Dingivan, Emily Wassick, Naviah Barrow) 2:04.16

4×800: 1. Suffield (Emily Bernabe, Karissa Stanio, Katherine Platt, Haley Young) 10:53.52, 2. Ellington 10:59.13, 3. Canton (Emma Gallant, Julia Caputo, Helena Winkler, Rebecca Lagonigro) 11:04.18; 6. Granby (Kennedy Baggott, Evelyn Brooke, Jessica Gerace, Erin Kulcsar) 11:54.63

55 hurdles: Nicole Szilagyi, Granby, 8.86, 2. Tessa Kopec, Stafford, 8.92, 3. Suzanne Pranger, Coventry, 9.22; 6. Lauren Roy, Granby 10.11

55 meters: 1. Chelsea Mitchell, Canton, 7.54, 2. Carlie Dreyfus, Stafford 7.81, 3. Charlotte Cobb, Windsor Locks, 7.92; 4. Megan Wassick, Granby 8.01, 6. Nichole Szilagy, Granby 8.14, 7. Maria Nolan, Granby

1,000 meters: 1. Jane Frawley, Canton, 3:20.47, 2. Kathryn Bonanno, Ellington, 3:27.07, 3. Gabrielle Zeller, Suffield, 3:27.65

600 meters: 1. Sydney Schultz, Ellington, 1:45.23, 2. Anna Casinghino, Suffield, 1:47.25, 3. Angelina Gill, Stafford, 1:47. 66; 5. Lila Hunt, Canton, 1:59.36

1,600 meters: 1. Karissa Stanio, Suffield, 5:40.96, 2. Julia Caputo, Canton, 5:41.19, 3. Helena Winkler, Canton 5:46.25; 6. Jessica Gerace, Granby, 5:55.36

Sprint medley relay: 1. Coventry (Kathryn Germond, Kirsten Krause, Lily Griswold, Suzanne Pranger) 4:49.00, 2. Suffield 4:49.78, 3. Stafford 4:53.23, 4. Granby (Naviah Barrow, Megan Wassick, Michelle Dingivan, Kennedy Baggott) 5:00.69

300 meters: 1. Chelsea Mitchell, Canton, 42.62, 2. Sydney Schultz, Ellington, 45.04, 3. Emily Bernabe, Suffield, 45.83, 4. Madeline Archangelo, Canton, 46.67; 6. Maya Sutton-Hall, Canton 46.94

3,200 meters: 1. Kylie Raymond, Somers, 11:33.78 (new meet record. Old record, Molly Hamel, Avon, 11:43.79, 2015), 2. Julia Caputo, Canton, 11:55.99, 3. Gabrielle Zeller, Suffield 12:06.55, 4. Helena Winkler, Canton, 12:34.65

4×400 relay: 1. Suffield (Emily Bernabe, Anna Casinghino, Katherine Platt, Karinn Sharp) 4:32.44, 2. Canton (Lila Hunt, Maya Sutton Hall, Jane Frawley, Brooke Shepard) 4:35.72, 3. Coventry 4:51.50, 4. Granby (Nicole Szilagyi, Evelyn Brooke, Kennedy Baggott, Jessica Gerace) 4:53.86

Long jump: 1. Chelsea Mitchell, Canton, 16-11.5, 2. Lauren Roy, Granby 16-3, 3. Megan Knowling, Ellington, 16-1, 4. Isabelle Provencher, Granby, 15-11.5; 6. Maddy Archangelo, Canton, 15-3; 8. Michelle Dingivan, Granby 14-4.5

Shot: 1. Pagye Boyd, Classical 33-6, 2. Taylor Denno, Windsor Locks 29-7, 3. Emma Coggins, Suffield, 29-4; 7. Abigail Thomas, Granby 26-5

Pole vault: 1. Cameron Shaw, Suffield, 8-6, 2. Britney Heyse, Suffield, 7-0, 3. Lexi Cyr, Granby, 6-6, 4. Evelyn Brooke, Granby 6-0, 5. Lexi Neeley, Canton, 5-6

High jump: 1. Megan Knowling, Ellington, 5-0, 2. Maddy Archangelo, Canton, 5-0, 3. Kirsten Krause, Coventry 5-0, 4. Lauren Roy, Granby, 4-10; 8. Isabelle Provencher, Granby, 4-10

2018 NCCC championships

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. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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