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Wilson leads a balanced Canton squad to another NCCC championship – The Collinsville Press
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Wilson leads a balanced Canton squad to another NCCC championship

Keith Wilson, center, on the way to winning the 200 meter championship at the NCCC meet.

Keith Wilson, center, on the way to winning the 200 meter championship at the NCCC meet.

ELLINGTON – Canton High senior Keith Wilson is no stranger to winning races in track and field.

A year ago, he won a NCCC championship and a Class S state title in the 400 meters. He was second in the NCCC in the 110 high hurdles and in the 200 meters.

But as the NCCC track and field championships approached on Tuesday, Wilson found himself in knots. “I was literally scared on the bus,” he said afterward. “I had a panic attack.” Wilson was entered in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters but he wasn’t seeded first in any of those events. He had yet to win as a lower seed.

Once he began competing, the doubts and nerves melted away. Wilson helped Canton win its fourth straight NCCC championship on Tuesday by winning the 200 and 400 meters and taking second in the 110 high hurdles.

Canton turned in its highest score ever in the NCCC championship meet (157½) by scoring in 16 of 18 events, easily outlasting Ellington, which was 34 points behind in second place. 

“After the first 100 meter (race), you forget everything,” Wilson said. “I calmed down and ran my own race and everything fell into place.”

In the 100 meters, Wilson was seeded sixth but he was right with Enfield’s Tyrik Henry the entire race. Henry nipped Wilson by 0.07 of a second with a surge at the finish, winning in 11.53 seconds. “I was a little disappointed with the 100 because I knew I could have had him,” Wilson said.

In the 400 meters, Ellington’s Andrew Oliwa had the fastest time of the season in the league but Wilson turned in a season-best time of 50.78 to win his second straight NCCC title in the event.

Wilson had the No. 2 seed in the 200 meters but he led from start to finish, holding off teammate Nico Tuccilo to win by 0.10 of a second in 23.44 seconds. Avon’s Evan Edgar was third in 24.78 seconds.

Canton coach Tim O’Donnell was thrilled with the balanced approach from the Warriors, who won the NCCC championship event for the fifth straight season. It’s the longest string of success since Ellington won seven straight NCCC championship events from 1999 through 2005.

“It’s nice to win but to win with a balanced effort and have so many kids having a big part of the meet is great,” he said. “We had 36 kids participating. That is probably the best part.”

Having a new track and field facility on campus doesn’t hurt nor does an opportunity to participating in a winning program. Wilson said the students help recruit new members and several members of the football team joined to help build up the depth that Canton (13-0) used throughout the season.

Canton had four athletes in the top 10 in discus and javelin. They had three in the top 10 in the shot. The top eight in each event earn points.

  • Cam Daley won the javelin, 300 hurdles and was second in the 110 hurdles.
  • Devon Glasson won the shot and took third in the discus.
  • Nico Tuccilo was second in the 200 meters and third in the 400 meters.
  • Colin Martin was second in the triple jump, fifth in the long jump and sixth in the 100 meters.
  • James Yost was second in the 1,600 meters and fifth in the 3,200 meters.
  • John Graziano was second in the discus.
  • Quinten Permenter was third in the shot and eighth in the javelin.
  • Dean Yost was fifth in the 1,600 and 800 meters.
  • Will Briggs was fifth in the discus.
  • Augie Shaw was sixth in the 400 meters.
  • Wyatt Campbell was sixth in the 300 hurdles.
  • John Solomon was eighth in the 300 hurdles.
  • Ian Laclair was eighth in the shot.
  • Stephen Oliver was tied for eighth in the pole vault, Canton’s first-ever points in this event at the NCCC championship meet.
  • Canton’s 4×400 relay (Campbell, Athan Chekas, Shaw, Tuccilo) was second.

Canton, the defending Class S champion, returns to action next week at the Class S state championship meet on Wednesday, June 4 at Danbury High. It will be a tough task with defending Class M champion Bloomfield in the field. The Warhawks, the smallest team in Class M a year ago, dropped down to Class S this spring.

 

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 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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