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BOE approves indoor track team for boys

CANTON, Jan. 12, 2009 – Two years ago, there were athletes competing for the sake of competition. In January 2007, the newly-formed Canton High girls indoor track team gave girls another opportunity to compete.

There was no indoor track team for the boys. Still, four boys trained with the girls anyways. They entered meets wherever they could, competing as individuals. But there was a limit. Only three boys could compete in a meet as individuals. Anything more than that would be considered a team.

Jasen Watson won a NCCC championship in the 55 meters and finished second in the 300 meters and long jump. Nate Bussiere won the 600 meters at the NCCC meet while Chris Bradley took a pair of fourth place finishes in the 1,000 and 1,600 meters.

No boys participated last winter. But this year, the girls who train with the boys during the outdoor track season in the spring and the cross country team in the fall took action.

The girls on the indoor team signed a petition and took it to the Board of Education in December requesting that the boys be allowed to compete and join the team.

Two weeks later, Superintendent Kevin Case reported to the Board of Education. He said he researched Title IX compliance and said that Canton would still be in compliance with the federal law if boys were allowed to join the team. And since there were already two coaches in the budget for the team, the impact to the budget would be minimal.

So on Dec. 18, the Board of Education unanimously voted to create a boys indoor track team at Canton High. There are 27 boys on the squad with 35 girls competing this winter. Tim O’Donnell, who coaches the cross country program, and Mike Hughes, the track coach are working together to run the program.

It was a busy weekend last week for the Warriors. They competed in the Jack Long ECC Challenge at Wesleyan on Thursday. Some participated at the NCCC Developmental meet at UConn on Friday while others competed at the Shoreline Conference Invitational at Hillhouse on Saturday.

Ali Summa posted a school record time of 7.8 seconds in the 55 meters at the NCCC meet while Elise Minichello won the long jump with a Class S qualifying leap of 15-feet, 7.5 inches at the Jack Long event. Rachel Schwartzman set a school record in the shot put with a throw of 27 feet, six inches to finish fourth at the Jack Long event.

At the Jack Long event, Erik Nystrom and Brian Magna finished second and third, respectively, in the 3,200 meters. The sprint medley relay team of Luke Talbott, Chris Hyde, Dylan Petrascovicius and Magna finished first.

Team scores were kept at the Shoreline Invitational with the boys team finishing sixth with 29 points and the girls taking 19th with five 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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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