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Avon’s Richmond, Martin earn All-State honors at Class MM championships

Avon’s Rhiannon Richmond (first row, second from left) and Logan Jacobs finished in the top 10 of the Class MM championships Friday in Manchester. (Photo courtesy Avon High)

MANCHESTER, October 26 – A streak came to an end for the Avon High girls cross country team at the CIAC Class MM championships. For the last four years, the Falcons brought home some championship hardware for finishing first or second.

Two Avon High runners finished in the top 10 but Pomperaug had three runners in the top 10 and five in the top 15 to lead the Panthers to the Class MM championship Friday at Wickham Park in Manchester.

Pomperaug easily beat Tolland, 39-70 to win their third straight state championship with the Falcons taking third with 86 points. Pomperaug won the past two Class L titles before dropping into Class MM this fall.

Avon was the defending Class MM champion and had won three state titles in the last four years. They finished second in 2016.

Freshman Jack Martin earned All-State honors by finishing seventh in Class MM to lead the Avon High boys cross country team. In Class SS, the Canton boys finished seventh while the Canton girls finished fifth led by Julia Caputo, who finished 16th.

Avon junior Rhiannon Richmond and freshman Logan Jacobs finished in the top 10 in the Class MM race. Richmond earned All-State honors by finishing sixth with a time of 20:16 over the 3.1 mile course. Jacobs, running with the varsity in an invitational meet for the first time this season, finished ninth with a season-best time of 20:21.

Richmond and Jacobs earned invitations to next week’s State Open championships here at Wickham Park on Friday, November 2, at 2:45 p.m., by finishing in the top 12.

Sophomore Sarah Lancaster was 16th with a time of 20:56 with senior Caroline Luby (25th place, 21:18) and freshman Gabrielle Richmond (30, 21:30) rounding out the top five for the Falcons. Senior Emma Buth (34, 21:47) and Rachel Nori (36, 21:49) also ran for Avon on Friday.

Martin cut 20 seconds off his time on this same Wickham Park course that he ran a week ago in the Central Connecticut Conference championship meet. Martin, who earned a berth in next Friday’s State Open, finished with a time of 17:09. Anish Rajamanickam finished 33rd with a time of 18:00.

The Avon High boys finished eighth in Class MM. East Lyme had three runners in the top 10 and four runners in the top 14 to win the Class MM championship with a 53-118 victory over E.O. Smith.

Canton’s  Matthew Barton (49) led the Warriors at the Class SS championships Friday with Sean Richard (63) finishing a few seconds behind his teammate. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Also running for the Falcons at the Class MM meet was Ian Albreski (103th place, 19:03), Mark Nunziata (104, 19:08), Rodrigo Portal (109, 19:14), Liam O’Dwyer (110, 19:16) and Daniel Cuyler (138, 19:53).

For all seven Avon runners, it was their best time of the season racing at Wickham Park. It was the third race of the year for the Falcons at the Manchester park.

In Class SS, Canton’s Matthew Barton (43rd place) had a season-best time of 18:56 to lead the Warriors boys team. Sean Richard (45, 19:00), Andrew Obrzut (46, 19:03) and John Holowesko (47, 19:05) each finished in the top 50. Chase Lashgari (62, 19:28), Keith Thomas (64, 19:29) and Gabe Mower (74, 19:48) also ran for Canton.

The seventh place finish for the Warriors was the lowest finish since taking eighth in 2007. Danbury’s Immaculate High won their first state title in cross country by edging East Catholic, 60-68.

Canton’s Helena Winkler (47) reaches the top of a hill at the recent NCCC championship meet in Bolton. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

With a fifth place finish, the Canton High girls finished in the top 10 in Class SS for the eighth straight year. Caputo led the Warriors by finishing 16th with a time of 20:52. Helena Winkler was 28th with a time of 21:29 while Jenna Cuniowski (36, 22:13), Maeve Balavender (37, 22:15) and Lila Hunt (47, 23:05) finishing in the top 50. Grace First (82, 24:49) and Meg Babbitt (119, 28:27) also ran for the Warriors.

Immaculate came home with a sweep in Class SS by also capturing the girls title with a dominant win over Haddam-Killingworth, 31-75. It was a fourth consecutive state title for the Mustangs, who won Class S titles in 2015 and 2017 and a Class SS crown in 2016. NCCC champion Ellington was a close third with 78 points.

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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