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Smyth surges to 11th in decathlon debut

Connor Smyth, Canton’s first decathlete

NEW BRITAIN, June 17 — Junior Connor Smyth was looking for a new challenge. He found it in the decathlon.

The first Canton High athlete to compete in the CIAC decathlon, Smyth surged on the day 2 of the 10-event competition to finish 11th in a field of 64 athletes with 5,096 points. Smyth was 35th after day 1 but finished strong with a fourth place finish in the discus and a fifth place finish in the javelin.

He cleared 9 feet and a quarter inch in his first attempt in the pole vault to finish 14th in that event. Smyth toyed with the idea of the decathlon a year ago but he needed to learn to pole vault. He has been doing some vaulting at Simsbury this spring. “It’s the competition and the variety of the events,” Smyth said. “I like doing everything.”

Smyth set new school record in the discus with a throw 116 feet, 8 inches, breaking the mark that he set earlier this year by a little over a foot. He broke his own record in the javelin from 2008 by nine feet with a throw of 147-10.

Along with newly-established records in the pole vault and decathlon, Smyth also owns the school records in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

Smyth also plays on the varsity basketball team. He joined the track team as a sophomore after seeing some friends participate the previous year. “It’s different,” he said of track and field. “Track is more relaxed. Basketball is really intense.”

Smyth was in the middle of the pack after day 1 in 35th place. He did well in three field events, sparked by his 12th place finish in the long jump (18 feet, 7.25 inches) and a 16th place finish in the high jump (5 feet, 5 ¾ inches).

Mike Leduc became the first Canton runner to participate in the CIAC’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing 11th in 10:31.00.

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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