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Plenty of memorable moments in 2018 with the Collinsville Press

Thank you for being a part of our Collinsville Press.com family in 2018.

In the past 12 months, nearly 46,000 of you came to the site and viewed our stories and photos. Together, we’ve shared some memorable athletic moments and achievements in 2018. We look forward to sharing additional outstanding achievements in the months to come. Let’s take a look and recall some of the memorable moments from 2018. We wanted to pick 10 stories but we couldn’t stop there so we added a few more.

No. 1

After two years of fundraising, permanent lights were installed around the athletic complex in Canton.

For the past two years, Lights on Canton, a community organization has been working to raise money for permanent lights to surround the turf field and track and field complex at Canton High. The organization reached their goal this year, raising $203,000 that was donated to the town. The town of Canton and Board of Education each chipped in $24,000 and the lights were installed in August. The first game under permanent lights was in September when Canton hosted Coginchaug/Hale Ray in football.

This journey began in November 2012 when town voters approved a $3.6 million facility as part of parking improvements and upgrades at Canton High. It included a state-of-the-art eight-lane track and field facility and a multi-purpose artificial turf field. Conduit and infrastructure for lighting was built at that time. The facility opened in November 2013.

No. 2

The natural turf football field at the high school will be replaced in the summer of 2019.

In December, Avon voters gave approval for a new synthetic turf field and eight-lane track and field complex for nearly $3 million ($2.99 million). Voters approved the synthetic turf and track and field complex proposal by a vote of 1,220 to 783. It was a long road to this approval. Planning and development for this turf project date back to late 2013.

The next step for the turf project is to establish a five-person building committee. The Town Council is expected to appoint the committee at their next meeting in January. The goal is to begin construction by the end of the school year so it would be available for use in September. The infill between the plastic blades of grass will be acrylic coated sand. Lights will not be part of this project. However, conduit to potentially install lights at a later date will be included into the project.

No. 3

Avon native Madison Kennedy, far right, won a pair of gold medals at the short course world championship meet in China. (Photo courtesy USA Swimming via Twitter)

Madison Kennedy, who grew up in Avon and graduated from Avon High in 2005, won a pair of gold medals swimming for the United States at the FINA short course world championships in China in December. Kennedy, 30, swam on the winning 4×50 meter freestyle relay that won with a U.S. and meet record time of 1:34.03. She also brought home a gold medal for her preliminary round swim on the American’s 4×50 mixed freestyle relay. She also finished eighth in the 50 freestyle. In her career, Kennedy has won four gold medals at the world championships in relay events.

No. 4

Avon senior Jordan Williams scored a team-high 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the loss to Waterford in the Division III championship game.

The Avon High boys basketball team had their best-ever season in the Central Connecticut Conference with their first winning record and nice run in the CIAC Class L tournament including a last-second win over Enfield in the semifinals. Waterford spoiled the party with a dominant 90-67 win over the Falcons in the Division III championship game. Avon finished 16-10.

No. 5

The Farmington Valley Generals celebrate after winning the CIAC Division II state championship Friday night at Ingalls Rink at Yale.

The Farmington Valley Generals co-op ice hockey team scored the first seven goals of the game to win their first-ever title as a co-op with a 7-3 win over defending champion Guilford at historic Ingalls Rink at Yale University. Six different players scored goals for top-seeded Farmington Valley (22-3-1) and another four players had assists. That was 10 players with a point. The Generals gave up just 15 shots and three goals, although two came in the final eight minutes after the game had long been decided. The Generals are made up of players from Avon (11 players), Farmington (7), Lewis Mills (3) and Windsor (1). The co-op was formed in 2012 with Mills joining the program in 2016.

No. 6

It’s all smiles on the Canton bench in the final minutes of a win over East Granby. Canton won their second straight NCCC championship

The Canton High boys basketball team won a second straight NCCC championship, sharing the title with SMSA. It was just the third time in program history that Canton won back-to-back titles. The last time the Warriors achieved that was in 1981 and 1982. Cromwell ended a fine season for the Warriors (20-5) with a 65-44 victory in the Division V semifinals.

No. 7

Canton High coach Brian Medeiros and his Warriors won the NCCC championship in 2018.

The Canton High girls basketball team won back-to-back Class S championships but in both seasons, they couldn’t grab the North Central Connecticut Conference title. This year, the Warriors ran the table going 16-0 in the NCCC to win their first outright league title since 1999. They shared the title in 2015 with Avon.

Canton advanced to the NCCC Tournament final for the first time since 1999 but were stunned by East Windsor in the championship game. The Warriors earned the No. 2 seed in the Class S tournament but were stunned again when No. 31 Trinity Catholic-Stamford won with a basket at the buzzer.

No. 8

Avon’s Michael Zelazny (3) goes for the ball in Wednesday night’s Class L semifinal contest at Windsor High.

The Avon boys soccer makes a nice run in CIAC Class L tournament before falling on penalty kicks, 11-10 to Maloney in the semifinals. Avon (12-5-3) had 40 shots on net against Maloney but couldn’t score in regulation or overtime.

No. 9

Players on the Avon High field hockey run to celebrate after Paige Deppe, far right, scored in Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Southington to give the Falcons the CCC South championship.

The Avon field hockey team won their first championship in the Central Connecticut Conference, claiming the CCC South title with a 7-0 record. The team began the season on the road due to issues with their home field but they found a home on the turf at Ethel Walker School in Simsbury. Avon advanced to the Class M semifinals but fell in triple overtime to Sacred Heart Academy, 1-0.

No. 10

Avon’s Carly Caprino, shown clearing a hurdle in her 300 hurdles win at the Class MM championships, took third at the State Open in the 100 hurdles.

Avon’s Carly Carpino swept the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles in Class MM to help the Falcons win their second Class MM title in three years. Carpino finished third in the 100 hurdles at the State Open and took second in CIAC hepthalon.

No. 11

Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell took fourth in the 100 meters — the best-ever finish for a Canton girl at the State Open.

Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell won two state titles in Class S taking the 100 meters and 200 meters while running on Canton’s winning 4×100 relay. She helped the Warriors finish fourth in Class S with a school-record 46 points.

No. 12

With a win over Wolcott on Wednesday, the Avon American Legion baseball team is just the second program to win at least three straight Zone 1 titles.

Avon American Legion baseball team won their third straight Zone 1 championship with a 16-2 record. Post 201 became just the second team in Zone 1 history to win at least three straight zone titles. Bristol won three or more Zone 1 titles seven times since 1960. Avon went 1-2 in the state tournament.

No. 13

The Avon High boys golf team won their second straight CIAC Division II state championship Tuesday in Harwinton. From left, Pictured above: Jack Hall; Tyler Hahn; Coach Glick; Cole Hahn; Sam Cuddeback; and Michael Hanratty

With four golfers in the top five, the Avon boys golf team won their second straight CIAC Division II championship with a 14-shot win over Berlin. The Falcons tied a CIAC-record with a score of 293. A few days later, Avon’s Tyler Hahn finished second in first CIAC State Open golf tournament.

No. 14

Canton’s Abby Charron protects the ball in a semifinal loss to East Catholic.

The Canton High girls lacrosse team rolled through the regular season taking a third consecutive NCCC title and a third straight  NCCC Tournament championship. But the drive for a state championship ended in the Class S semifinals with a double overtime loss to East Catholic, 8-7.

No. 15

Canton’s Max Sparks won two Class S state titles with a victory in the 1,600 meters at the Class S indoor track and field championships and a win in the 3,200 meters at the Class S outdoor track and field championships.

Your choices

In terms of numbers of readers and website traffic, these are the top 10 stories presented in the Collinsville Press in 2018.

  1. Linda Cavanaugh, former athletic director in Canton and former coach in Canton and Avon, dies in bicycling accident in Maine.
  2. East Windsor girls basketball team beat Canton for first NCCC Tournament championship
  3. Simsbury beats Avon in eight innings to remain alive in District 6 Little League baseball tournament
  4. On shot at the buzzer, Trinity Catholic girls basketball team eliminates two-time defending Class S champion in first round of state tournament
  5. Avon beats Simsbury to win District 6 Little League baseball championship
  6. Seven Avon High athletes earn All-State honors for their play this fall
  7. Sacred Heart Academy field hockey team beats Avon in triple OT in Class M semifinals
  8. Avon field hockey team wins CCC South championship
  9. Avon girls basketball team rallies to beat Canton in triple overtime
  10. Coginchaug/Hale Ray beats Canton football in season opener and first game played under permanent lights in Canton

Top stories from the past

Top Collinsville Press stories from 2017

Top Collinsville Press stories from 2016

Top Collinsville Press stories from 2015

Top Collinsville Press stories from 2014

Top Canton stories from 2012Top Avon stories from 2012

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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