SACO, Maine, June 8 – Canton High junior Chelsea Mitchell is a New England champion – the fastest high school girl in the six-state region after winning the 100 meters Saturday at the New England championships at Thornton Academy in Saco.
Mitchell becomes just the fifth Canton athlete in school history to win a New England championship. Matt Graziano won a pair of New England titles in the discus in 2012 and 2013 while wrestler Kacy O’Connor (1998) and the tennis doubles team of Peter and Matt Spring (1999) also won New England championships.
Canton’s Peter Fuller finished seventh in the high jump while Avon’s Rhiannon Richmond finished eighth in the 3,200 meters – the best individual performance by an Avon athlete at the New England championships.
Mitchell competed in three events and earned All-New England honors in all three events. She was fifth in the 200 meters and sixth on the long jump.
Mitchell, who captured her first State Open title last week with a school record time of 11.67 seconds, won her preliminary heat of the 100 meters in 12.56 seconds to qualify for the final but behind Windsor’s Cori Richardson and Caroline Schissel of Amesbury, Mass.
In the final, Mitchell won with a time of 12.20 seconds followed by Richardson in 12.25 seconds and Schissel with a time of 12.43 seconds. “It was a very close race with Richardson but Chelsea came away with a solid win in the finals,” Canton High coach Tim O’Donnell said.
“All of the times were a little slow,” O’Donnell said. “There was a mild headwind blowing on the track straightaway. But (Chelsea) beat some very legitimate sprinters from each New England state that had all run under 12.0 seconds or just over it in the past few weeks.”
Schissel won the Massachusetts title last week with a time of 11.93 seconds. Defending New England champion Terry Miller of Bloomfield didn’t qualify for the race after being disqualified from the State Open final due to a false start.
Miller defended her title in the 200 meters with a time of 24.57 seconds. Richardson was second with a time of 24.76 seconds with Danbury’s Alanna Smith finishing third in 25.02. Mitchell was fifth with a time of 25.36 seconds. Connecticut had five of the top six finishers in the race.
In the long jump, Mitchell fit in jumps between races in the 100 meters. She got her preliminary jumps done quickly to get to the track for the race in the 100 meters. Once she was done with the 100 meters, she returned to the long jump and had to make her jumps in the finals in rapid fashion.
She had her longest jump of the day on her sixth and final jump of 17-8¼ moved her into sixth place.
In the boys high jump, half of the field couldn’t clear the opening height of six feet. Only eight athletes, including Fuller cleared 6-foot-3. He finished seventh. Lowell’s David Ajama won the event with a leap of 6-7 while Enfield’s Matthew Santy was second with a jump of 6-5.
Richmond, who set the school record in the 3,200 meters at the State Open with a time of 10:51.75, finished eighth with a time of 10:57.03. Pomperaug sophomore Kate Wiser, who easily won the State Open title last week, won the New England title with a new track record time of 10:22.24, erasing nearly nine seconds off the previous mark of 10:31.19 set seven years ago in 2012.
The best finish for an Avon team was a fifth place finish by a 4×800 relay team (Hadley Fitzgerald, Megan Gretner, Sarah Nitsche, Ashley Wallace) in 1996. The best individual finish was Carly Carpino’s ninth place finish in the long jump in 2017.