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At national meet, Mitchell takes 2nd in long jump; Martin is 6th in freshman race

Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell, shown here at the NCCC championships in May, finished second on the long jump in the Emerging Elite division at the New Balance Nationals Outdoors meet on Sunday in North Carolina.

Canton junior Chelsea Mitchell continues to break records on the track.

Mitchell set a new school record in the long jump at the 2019 New Balance Nationals Outdoors track and field meet at the University of North Carolina AT&T in Greensboro, North Carolina, this weekend.

Mitchell finished second in the long jump in the emerging elite competition with a school record leap of 19-3¼ feet and finished 21st in the championship division of the 100 meters.

Avon’s Jack Martin, Rhiannon Richmond and the Falcons 800 meter sprint medley relay team were also in Greensboro competing, with Martin finishing sixth in the freshman mile race.

The 29th annual national meet holds competition in several divisions – championship, emerging elite, freshmen and junior high. Only competitors in the championship division can earn All-American honors for a top six finish in their respective event.

In the past two weeks, Mitchell won her first State Open championship in the 100 meters with a school record time of 11.67 seconds and followed that up with a New England championship in the 100 meters (12.20 seconds) in Maine – the first girl in school history to win a New England championship.

Mitchell ran a fast time of 11.87 seconds at the national meet to earn a top 25 finish.

In the long jump, Mitchell had the rare luxury of being able to focus on that one event since the 100 meter race was on Saturday and the long jump competition was on Sunday.

Throughout the season, Mitchell would compete in multiple events on the same day. Even at the New England championships, Mitchell was competing in three events — the 100 and 200 meters and long jump.

Stephanie Simon of Chelsea, Mass., set the bar early in the long jump with a leap of 19-3¼ on her first jump of the day. She jumped the same distance again on her first jump of the finals.

Mitchell jumped 18-8½ on her third and final jump of the preliminary round to earn a spot, which was tied for fifth among the eight finalists.

On her sixth and final jump of the competition, Mitchell leaped 19-3¼ pushing her into a first place tie with Simon. But the tiebreaker is your second-best jump. Since Simon jumped 19-3¼ twice, that beat out Mitchell’s second-best leap of 18-8½ so Mitchell finished second.

The previous school record in the long jump was 18-7½ that Mitchell jumped at the NCCC championship meet in Coventry a few weeks ago.

From left, Avon High track and field coach Courtney Fusco, Thomas Howard, Thomas Ko, Rhiannon Richmond, Jack Martin, Jack Donlin and Anish Rajamanickam.

Avon’s Jack Martin ran in two races at the New Balance Nationals Outdoors. He won his heat and finished sixth in the freshman mile with a time of 4:28.85, an Avon freshman record. Martin also ran in the freshman 800 meters and finished 22nd out of 47 finishers with a time of 2:02.14.

“Not wanting to have a repeat of Thursday’s race (800 meters) in which he got stuck behind the pack for the entire two laps, we decided to go with a strategy of going out hard with the (opening) gun and taking an early lead,” Avon High assistant track coach Courtney Fusco said. “It paid off. Jack led the first three laps of the four-lap race and then briefly fell back into fifth place on the back straight of the bell lap. That is where Jack does his best racing and he retook the lead with 200 meters to go and never looked back.”

Avon’s Rhiannon Richmond ran in the 5,000 meters in the championship division and was 36th with a time of 18:34.16.

“Rhiannon was coming off a month of top-level performances in the 3,200 meters,” Fusco said. “She was a CCC champion, Class MM state champion, 3rd overall in the State Open with a school record time of 10:51.75, and sixth  overall at the New England championships.”

Avon’s 800 meter sprint medley relay team of Jack Donlin, Thomas Howard, Thomas Ko and Anish Rajamanickam finished 40th in the emerging elite division with a time of 1:38.31. The sprint medley relay consists of two legs of the 100 meters and single legs of the 200 and 400 meters.

Martin and sprint medley relay team were the first Avon boys to compete at the National Outdoor meet since Geoff Kirk in 2016. Richmond was the Avon girl at the competition since Kaleigh Sherman threw the javelin in the championship meet in 2016.

Xavier’s Robbie Cozean of Madison, Conn., won the national championship in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:26.18 along with Norwalk’s Justin Forde (51-6½) in the triple jump. Hall’s 1,600 meter sprint medley relay team (Yovan Rivera, Joseph Mortin, Muhammad Ali and Miler Anderson) also won a national title with a time of 3:26.26.

2019 New Balance Nationals Outdoors


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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