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Mitchell, Frawley, O’Donnell win races; Avon Distance Medley sets new record

Canton’s Julia Caputo (3) and Avon’s Sara Leavens (1) compete in the Distance Medley in Friday’s Irv Black Invitational in New Britain. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

NEW BRITAIN, May 11 – Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell won the 100 meters, Jane Frawley captured the 2,000 meter steeplechase while teammate Aidan O’Donnell won the 400 hurdles at the 12th annual Irv Black Invitational at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.

Avon’s Distance Medley relay team (Emily Foley, Sara Leavens, Rhiannon Richmond, Molly Milligan) easily won the race and broke a 29-year-old school record in the process.

The Irv Black Invitational is a two-day event that offers more than the standard track and field events such as the 400 meter hurdles, steeplechase races and distance medley relays.

Mitchell had a strong day on the track for Canton. She won the 100 meters with a time of 12.65 seconds, beating Hillhouse’s Ayesha Nelson (12.81) and Hamden’s Andreya Gardner (12.84). Mitchell also was second in the 200 meters with a time of 26.21 seconds, trailing Fairfield Ludlowe’s Tess Stapleton (25.86).

Canton’s Jane Frawley won the 2,000 meter steeplechase event at the Irv Black Invitational on Friday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Frawley won the 2,000 meter steeplechase by 20 seconds with a school-record time of 7:25.49, breaking the mark she set at the State Open last year.  Simsbury’s Dagny Edwards (7:45.65) was second with Avon’s Emily Foley (7:45.02) finishing third. Canton’s Emma Gallant was seventh in 8:37.99.

O’Donnell won the 400 meter hurdles in 59.07 seconds, beating Norwalk’s Katrell Clay (59.19) for a 0.12 of a second victory. O’Donnell set a new school record, breaking the mark set by Jesse Waite in 2016.

Avon’s Distance Medley team, which ran legs of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters, shattered the old record set in 1989 at the Nutmeg Relays with a winning time of 13:00.46 with Canton (Maya Sutton-Hall, Emma Gallant, Julia Caputo, Frawley) taking second in 13:31.35. The previous school record holders (Laurie Ziemba, Beth Wilkie, Debbie Drake, Suzanne Gibley) ran a time of 13:45.4.

Canton’s Distance Medley also set a school record, erasing the previous mark from last year’s O’Grady Relays in Danbury.

Avon’s Emily Foley finished third in the 2,000 meter steeplechase on Friday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s Max Sparks finished second in two races. Sparks was second in the 2,000 steeplechase in 6:30.59, six seconds off the winning time posted by Stonington’s Rhys Hammond (6:24.45). O’Donnell was third in 6:31.10 while Canton’s Matt Webb finished ninth (7:00.45). Sparks lowered his own school record in the 2,000 steeplechase.

Sparks was also second in the 3,200 meters with his time of 9:52.15. East Lyme’s Sam Whittaker won the race in 9:33.24.

Canton’s 4×400 meter relay (Madeline Archangelo, Frawley, Maya Sutton-Hall, Mitchell) finished second in the race with a time of 4:24.19. Guilford won with a time of 4:19.57.

Stonington’s Rhys Hammond leads Canton’s Max Sparks (2) in the 2,000 steeplechase race at Friday’s Irv Black Invitational. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Frawley took third in the 1,600 meters with a time of school-record time of 5:23.10, knocking nearly six seconds off her previous best time this season. That erased one of the oldest records in the Canton High record book set in 2007 by Kim Powell.

Caputo was third in the 3,200 meters (11:20.18) while Archangelo took sixth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:21.08. Caputo lowered her own school record in the 3,200 meters in the race.

Canton’s distance medley relay (Matt Barton, Matt Webb, O’Donnell, Sparks) finished fourth with a time of 11:33.50.

The Warriors close out the regular season on Tuesday when they travel to Rockville to face the Rams and SMSA. The NCCC championship meet is Tuesday, May 29, at Suffield High. Avon closes out the regular season at Farmington on Tuesday and the CCC championship meet will be Tuesday, May 22 at Hall High in West Hartford.

Avon’s Distance Medley relay team set a new school record Friday at the Irv Black Invitational. From left to right, coach David Zlatin, Molly Milligan, Sara Leavens, Emily Foley, Rhiannon Richmond and coach C.J. Fusco

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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