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Canton girls look strong in winning third straight NCCC championship

The Canton High girls indoor track and field team won their third straight NCCC championship in New Haven. (Photo courtesy Christy Mitchell).

CANTON, January 26 – Two years ago, the Canton High girls indoor track and field team won their first-ever conference title with a seven-point win over Ellington. A year ago, the Warriors won the league championship by a single point over Suffield.

No such heroics were necessary this year for the Warriors.

For the second straight year, junior Chelsea Mitchell won three events and the Warriors picked up two victories from senior Madeline Archangelo to win their third straight North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC) championship at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse in New Haven.

Canton also won a 4×200 relay, took second in the 4×800, 4×400 and sprint medley relays. Julia Caputo finished second in the 1,600 meters. Canton won with 131 points – a school record for the NCCC championship meet – with Ellington a distant second with 104 points and Suffield taking third with 102 points.

“They definitely worked for it,” Canton High coach Tim O’Donnell said. “The girls put together a very good meet. Everything went well. It was just a really solid meet for us.

“We got better and better as the season went on,” he said. “No one had the luxury of focusing on just a single event for a personal record. They all had to do three events.”

Senior Madeline Archangelo won two events to help the Warriors win the NCCC championship including the 55 hurdles. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton is the first team to win three straight NCCC titles in a decade since Tolland won four straight from 2006-09.

The Canton boys finished third with 49 points and were led by junior Peter Fuller, who swept the 55 hurdles and high jump to lead the Warriors.

Mitchell won the 55 meter dash, 300 meter dash and long jump for Canton. She has won the NCCC title in the 55 meters and 300 meters for three consecutive seasons.

She won the 55 meters with a meet record time of 7.32 seconds beating Somers’ Olivia Suter for the championship. Teammate Maya Sutton Hall was sixth in the 55 with a time of 7.91 seconds.

Mitchell won the 300 meters by a whopping 1.5 seconds with a time of 42.74 seconds with teammates Kaylia Bailey (45.21) and Sutton Hall (45.28) taking fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the long jump, Mitchell was first with a leap of 17-0½ feet for her eighth NCCC championship medal in three seasons. Archangelo was fifth with a leap of 15-feet.

“(Winning three events at a NCCC indoor track championship meet) is special. It doesn’t happen but once in a blue moon,” O’Donnell said.

Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell won the 55 meters and 300 meters at the NCCC championship for the third straight year. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Archangelo took home victories in the high jump with a school record leap of 5-foot-2 and in the 55 hurdles with a run of 9.37 seconds. Archangelo won by two inches in the high jump. In the hurdles she had a healthy 0.23 second buffer in front of Rockville’s Alyssa Sirianni.

In the preliminary round, Sirianni had the fastest time (9.53) with Archangelo second with a time of 9.60 seconds. Archangelo turned that around in the finals.

Archangelo’s younger sister, MacKenzie, a sophomore, also brought home a first place medal. She was part of Canton’s winning 4×200 relay team (Mackenzie Archangelo, Maya Sutton-Hall, Brooke Shepard, Kaylia Bailey) that easily won with a time of 1:52.58. Granby was second with a time of 1:55.58.

Three other Canton relays – 4×800 (Maeve Balavender, Julia Caputo, Emma Gallant, Lila Hunt), 4×400 sprint medley relay (MacKenzie Archangelo, Helena Winkler, Theresa McClain, Shepard) and the 4×400 relay (Shepard, Bailey, Hunt, Balavender) each finished second in their respective races.

Canton had three runners finish in the top 10 of the 3,200 meters at the NCCC championship meet — Julia Caputo, Helena Winkler and Emma Gallant. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Caputo finished second in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:44.24 with teammate Emma Gallant finished fifth (5:52.58). Caputo led a trio of Canton runners in the 3,200 meters taking third with a time of 12:10.98 with Gallant (12:27.82) finishing sixth and Winkler taking eighth (12:51.57).

Other Warriors finishing in the top 10 included Helena Winkler, who was fifth in the 1,000 meters with a time of 3:19.30; Balavender, who was fifth in the 600 meters (1:50.79); Hunt, who was eighth in the 600 meters (1:54.37), Julia Lau, who was eighth in the shot (25-11½) and Meg Babbitt, who was tenth in the shot (25-7).

On the boys side, Canton finished third with 57½ points, just getting past Granby (54) to take third. Suffield won the league title with 130½ points while three-time defending champion Ellington took second with 104.

Fuller won the long jump for the second straight year with a leap of 6-foot-2. He also was a league champion in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 8.25 seconds with SMSA’s Raphael Mena (8.33) taking second.

It’s a new event for Fuller, who began competing in the hurdles just after Christmas. Fuller had the fastest time after the preliminary round (8.43 seconds) and lowered it in the finals. Fuller also finished fifth in the 300 meters with a time of 37.87 seconds.

Brandon LaClair took third in the pole vault with a leap of 8-foot-6 while three of Canton’s four relays finished in the top five.

Andrew Cavanaugh ran on Canton’s 4×400 relay at the NCCC championships. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

The boys 4×200 relay (Michael Cavanaugh, Andrew Obrzut, Brandon LaClair, Oluwafemi Taiwo) finished fifth (1:41.30), the 4×800 relay (Kevin Csizmesia, Sean Richard, Sean Miscikoski, Ryan Nickerson) finished third (9:41.16) and the 4×400 relay (Andrew Cavanaugh, Chase Lashgari, Michael Cavanaugh, Gabe Mower) was fourth with a time of 3:53.67.

Other top 10 performances came from Andrew Obrzut and Chase Lashgari, who were fifth (1:30.04) and tenth (1:35.83), respectively, in the 600 meters. LaClair was seventh in the long jump (19-4¼) with Michael Cavanaugh finishing sixth in the shot (34-6) and teammate David Bonetti taking ninth with a throw of 33-6½ feet.

Canton will be competing in the Class S championships on Thursday, February 7, beginning at 4 p.m. at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

NOTES: Team scores printed immediately after the meet are incorrect because they scored the top seven in each event. They should have scored the top eight.

2019 NCCC boys: 1. Suffield 130½, 2. Ellington 104, 3. Canton 57½, 4. Granby 54, 5. Coventry 46, 6. Hartford Classical 45, 7. Windsor Locks 43, 8. SMSA 29, 9. Stafford 20, 10. Rockville 16, 11. Somers 13, 12. East Windsor 8, 13. Bolton 5, 14 HMTCA 3, 15. East Granby 2

2019 NCCC girls: 1. Canton 131, 2. Ellington 104, 3. Suffield 102, 4. Granby 63, 5. Somers 37, 6. Hartford Classical 28, 7. Stafford 23, 8. Rockville 16, 9. East Windsor 16, 10. East Granby 10, 11. Coventry 9, 12. Bolton 5, 13. HMTCA 1

2019 NCCC indoor track and field championships


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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