NEW HAVEN, Feb. 12 – The Canton High indoor track and field program is beginning to reap the benefit of its new outdoor track and field facility that opened in November 2014. While the field athletes couldn’t pull out the equipment and use it during the winter, the work they did in the spring helped set the stage for excellence performances at the recent Class S championships.
John Solomon tied his own school record with a leap of six feet to finish second in the high jump while Stephen Oliver matched his own indoor record of 11-0 feet in the pole vault and finished fourth to help lift the Canton boys indoor track and field team to a fifth place finish at the Class S championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Canton finished fifth for the third straight year and scored 32 points – the second most ever for the Warriors at the Class S championship meet. On the girls side, Canton scored two points but had five top 10 finishes.
In the high jump, Solomon cleared six feet on his third attempt while Alec Bogen of Coginchaug cleared six feet on his second attempt. Solomon was the first Canton boy to compete in the high jump at the Class S indoor meet. He will be seeded eighth at this week’s State Open championships in the high jump.
“This is definitely a by-product of having a track and equipment outdoors,” Canton coach Tim O’Donnell said. “Even though, we were unable to practice on equipment during the winter, the experience during spring provided enough of a foundation to use general conditioning and in-meet practice opportunities to do well.”
Canton had two runners in the finals of the 55-meter hurdles for the first time. Unfortunately, Solomon false started and was eliminated. Dustin Van Kirk ran a personal best time of 8.39 seconds to finish third. It was the third fastest indoor time in the 55 in school history. Only Keith Wilson and current assistant coach David Kucia have run it faster.
In the 1,000 meters, Jake Whittingslow ran a personal-best time of 2:41.23 to finish third behind defending champion Connor Ratte of Coventry and Cameron Garrelts of Haddam-Killingworth. Still, it was good enough of a time to earn Whittingslow an invitation to this week’s State Open championships.
In the 3,200 meters, Whittingslow finished second behind HK’s Garrelts, one of the best runners in the event. Whittingslow was eight seconds behind Garrelts. Whittingslow ran a tactical race, slowly moving through the field, moving into second place with about 800 meters remaining and pulling away to finish second with a personal-best time of 9:58.99.
Will Briggs had a personal-best throw of 45 feet, 9½ inches to finish fourth in the shot. It also earned him a place at the State Open this week.
Canton had a good sprint medley relay team in place that O’Donnell estimated could run a time of around 3:46.00. But the team was disqualified when officials ruled that an exchange between Matt Pickett (first leg) and Van Kirk (second leg) was out of the transition zone. The race was won by Coventry in 3:49.20.
Oliver did qualify to compete in the State Open in the pole vault.
The Canton girls scored just two points but they had four top 10 finishes. The Warriors’ 4×200 relay team of Lucy Tanner, Emily Mitchell, Elizabeth Raynor and Amber Harraden finished sixth with a school-record time of 1:52.75, snapping the existing mark by a second. Canton, which was seeded 11th, did this despite Mitchell being slowed by a runner from Griswold who stepped right into Mitchell’s lane during the race.
Abby Briggs also finished sixth in the 600 meters with a time of 1:46.42 – her second best time of the year and only 0.15 off the school record.
Canton’s sprint medley relay team (Tanner, Mitchell, Harraden, Briggs) set a new school record with a time of 4:34.08. It shattered the old record of 4:40.01 set in the first year of the program in 2007 by Elise Minichello, Melissa Cahill, Christa Tuback and Kim Powell. Canton’s time this year would have finished second as recently as 2009.
Mitchell became the first Canton girl to qualify for the finals in the long jump (outdoors or indoors) and finished seventh with a leap of 15 feet, 5¼ inches.
Tanner, who finished sixth in the 55 hurdles in 2014 and a fifth in 2015, just missed making the finals with a season-best time of 9.33. She ended up eighth. Teammate Katahdin Whitney ran a personal best time of 9.91 and finished 18th.
Canton’s 4×400 relay team (Briggs, Cami McCaulley, Sofia Langou and Harraden) ran a strong time of 4:33.17 for a very respectable 12th.
None of the Canton girls qualified for the State Open.
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 13 – Andrew Suter finished sixth in the 3,200 meters to lead the Avon High boys indoor track and field team at the Class M championships. Suter, who had a time of 9:58.68, scored the only point for the Falcons. Only the top six finishes in each event earn points.
Jack Stokesbury was eighth in the 1000 meters in 2:49.28 while Zach Bortoff was eleventh in 2:52.04
Among the Avon High girls at the Class L championship meet, Ashley Martin finished 11th in the 1,000 meters in 3:24.08 to lead the Falcons. Rachel Martin was 14th in the 3,200 meters in 12:27.86 and 15th in the 1,600 meters in 5:41.86.