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Graziano, Avon 4×800 team finish fifth at Open; qualify for New Englands – The Collinsville Press
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Graziano, Avon 4×800 team finish fifth at Open; qualify for New Englands

From left, Avon's Maddi McHugh, Amanda Holtzman, Sara Stokesbury and Molly Hamel

From left, Avon’s Maddi McHugh, Amanda Holtzman, Sara Stokesbury and Molly Hamel

NEW HAVEN, February 19 – For the first time, athletes from Avon have qualified for participate in the New England indoor track and field championships in Boston.

Avon’s 4×800 relay team of junior Sara Stokesbury and sophomores Amanda Holtzman, Molly Hamel and Maddie McHugh finished fifth at Tuesday’s State Open championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High to earn an invitation to the New England championships. Joining the Falcons in Boston will be Canton senior Matt Graziano, who was fifth at the State Open in the shot.

The top six finishers in each event qualified for the New England championships at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College in Boston on Saturday, March 2.

For the third time this winter, Avon’s 4×800 relay team has lowered their school record. At the State Open, the Falcons ran a time of 9:47.09, erasing 14 seconds off the mark they established at the Class L championship meet about a week earlier.

With a throw of 48 feet, 5½ inches, Graziano, who won a New England championship in the discus at the outdoor meet in Maine last June, broke his own indoor record in the shot that he established about a week earlier at the Class S championship meet. Graziano had throw 46-6½ at the Class S meet.

Other Avon and Canton athletes also competed at the State Open. Sophomore Chamiyah Rowland lowered her own school record in the 55 meters with a time of 7.43 seconds in the qualifying round. She finished seventh in the finals in 7.62 records.

For the third time this winter, Hamel lowered her own school record in the 3,200 meters with a time of 11:31.55 seconds, good enough for eighth place. Hamel knocked off over two seconds from her time of 11:33.82 at the Class L championship meet.

Avon’s sprint medley relay (Rowland, Maeve Reiss, Tara Shayler, Stokesbury) finished 16th in the event.

Canton’s 4×400 boys relay team of Matt DeMarco, Julian Franklin, Keith Loureiro and Keith Wilson finished 11th in 3:37.89, about 0.22 seconds off their school record time from the Class S championship meet. The Warriors were second in their heat.

Canton had individual and relays at the New England championships in 2009 and 2010. Brian Magna completed in the 1,000 meters in 2009, finishing ninth while Mike LeDuc was 13th in 2010 in the 3,200 meters. Canton’s 4×800 relay team was 15th in New England in 2010.

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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