MANCHESTER, October 26 – Avon High sophomore Jack Martin became the fifth boy in school history to win a state championship in cross country Saturday at the CIAC Class MM championship meet and helped the Falcons finish second.
Avon finished second in Class MM behind East Lyme, who had three runners in the top 10. East Lyme captured their third consecutive Class MM championship with a 67-87 win over the Falcons.
In the girls Class MM championship race, Avon senior Rhiannon Richmond became the fifth girl in school history to win a cross country state championship with her victory. With a time of 19:59, Richmond won the title beating Woodstock Academy’s Linsey Arends by 15 seconds.
Richmond helped the Avon girls team earn a third place finish – their eighth top three finish in the last nine years.
A week ago, Martin had to drop out of the Central Connecticut Conference championships on this same course when he calf muscle tightened up on him as he ran up a steep hill called the Green Monster.
“I knew he could use that race as motivation for this one,” Avon High boys cross country coach Cortney Fusco said. “He has a history of coming back really strong after an off race. I told him it didn’t matter if he won by a minute or 10 seconds as long as he went for the win.”
Martin beat East Lyme’s Luke Anthony by 21 seconds with a winning time of 16:18 on the 3.1 mile course to become the first Avon boy to win a state championship since Brian Lenihan won the Class M title 35 years ago in 1984.
“Jack executed exactly as he was supposed to,” Fusco said “Get out hard, lead from the gun and do what he’s done all season to become a state champion. We knew he had the fastest (time) in the field.”
Martin came into the race having won two dual meets, the seeded race at the Wickham Park Invitational earlier this month and the Winding Trails Invitational in Farmington. He also finished second in the Varsity II race at the Haddad Windham Invitational in September.
East Lyme was too deep with three runners in the top 10 (2, 3, 7) and another runner in the top 20 in 18th place. Tyler Hinrichs (12, 17:03) and Daniel Carvalho (15, 17:26) finished in the top 20 for the Falcons.
Lucas Hester (27, 17:50) and David Parry (32, 18:10) rounded out the top five. Carver Morgan was just a few seconds back (38, 18:18). The last time Avon finished second was in 2014 at the Class MM meet.
“What I’m happiest about with regard to this boys’ team is how hard they worked before and during the season in order to make this a uniquely deep team,” Fusco said. “I had a genuinely hard time deciding on a seven-man roster. We have about 12 to 15 guys whose (personal-best times) are within a few seconds of one another. I hated making those decisions, because I hate leaving out guys who deserve to race, but like too many starting pitchers on a baseball staff, it’s a good problem to have.”
The Falcons, who were tenth in the deep Central Connecticut Conference championship meet, were 2-5 in dual meets this season. They will run again Friday at the State Open, again, at Wickham Park.
Richmond earned her first major victory of the season. She was eleventh at the deep Central Connecticut Conference championship meet and second in the unseeded race at the Wickham Park Invitational earlier this month and at the Winding Trails Invitational in Farmington.
“It was a nice way for her to go out,” Avon High girls cross country coach Al Dadario said. “She led the whole race with little pressure. Her time would have been better if she was pushed. She will be missed.”
Richmond will get that chance to be pushed on Friday. She qualified for the State Open championships along with her sister, Gabrielle, who finished eleventh with a time of 21:02.
E.O. Smith had three runners in the top 10 (4, 8, 10) to edge East Lyme, 63-68 for the Class MM championship. Avon was third with 87 points. It was the fifth Class MM title for E.O. Smith and their tenth state championship overall.
NOTES: Avon’s 87 points was its lowest score ever in a CIAC boys cross country championship meet. … It was the fourth time in school history that the Avon High boys finished second. They also earned a silver trophy in 2014 (Class M), 1983 (Class M) and 1979 (Class S). … Jack is the fifth boy to win an individual state title in cross country in school history. Brian Lenihan (1994, Class M), Jeff Hyman (1981, Class M), Buddy Harris (1971, Class M) and Bob Patrick (1963, Class S) also won individual titles. … Richmond is the fifth girl to win a cross country state title at Avon. Ryley Higgins (2015, Class MM), Rachel Rosow (2011, Class MM), Claire Smith (2009, Class MM) and Mary McNott (1975 Class S and 1974 Class M) also brought home individual state championships.
Class MM cross country championships
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Top 10 teams: 1. East Lyme 67, 2. Avon 87, 3. Guilford 94, 4. Bethel 126, 5. Weston 136, 6. Berlin 165, 7. Joel Barlow 215, 8. E.O. Smith 244, 9. Notre Dame-WH 292, 10. Waterford 304
Top 10 results: Jack Martin, Avon, 16:18 for 3.1 miles at Wickham Park; 2. Luke Anthony, East Lyme, 16:39, 3. Fisher Macklin, East Lyme, 16:45; 4. Ethan Aspiras, Woodstock Academy, 16:49, 5. Michael Parzych, Berlin, 16:51, 6. Sam Hollwoth, Rockville, 16:53, 7. Christopher Abbey, East Lyme, 16:56, 8. Robert Doyle, Bethel, 16:58, 9. Ben Crair, Guilford, 17:01, 10. Ryan Rupprecht, Weston, 17:01
Avon results: 1. Jack Martin 16:18, 12. Tyler Hinrichs 17:03, 15. Daniel Carvalho 17:26, 27. Lucas Hester 17:50, 32. David Parry 18:10, 38. Carver Morgan 18:18, 93. Anish Rajamanickam 19:29
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Top 10 teams: 1. E.O. Smith 63, 2. East Lyme 68, 3. Avon 87, 4. 4. Guilford 89, 5. Woodstock Academy 101, 6. RHAM 146, 7. Hand 245, 8. Bristol Eastern 288, 9. Bristol Central 291, 10. Branford 312
Top 10 results: Rhiannon Richmond, Avon, 19:59 for 3.1 miles at Wickham Park, 2. Linsey Arends, Woodstock Academy, 20:14, 3. Clara Wiesler, Guilford 20:21, 4. Bridget Olson, EO Smith, 20:21, 5. Madison Sjostrom, East Lyme, 20:33, 6. Edith Walker, RHAM, 20:40; 7. Stella Dipippo, Woodstock Academy 20:42; 8. Elizabeth Bigelow, East Lyme 20:53; 9. Samantha Lyster, East Lyme, 20:59; 10. Jayden Stygar, EO Smith, 21:00
Avon runners: 1. Rhiannon Richmond 19:59, 11. Gabrielle Richmond 21:02, 13. Marenn Ek 21:12, 26. Logan Bud Jacobs 21:49, 36. Sarah Lancaster 22:23, 57. Autumn Wolf 24:12, 78, Bryneth Chang 25:19