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Avon’s Morgan finishes fourth while Johnson, Watson win New England titles

Avon’s Carver Morgan (6) battles in the 1,600 meter final at the New England championships on Saturday in New Britain. (Photo courtesy Peter Morgan)

Avon’s Carver Morgan continues to bring down his own school record in the 1,600 meters. For the third consecutive meet, the senior broke the record with his performance in the event.

On Saturday, Morgan became just the sixth boy in school history to win a medal at the New England outdoor track and field championships with a fourth place finish in the 1,600 meters at Willow Brook Park in New Britain. Morgan was fourth with a time of 4:12.08, shaving more than two seconds off his time of 4:14.95 at the State Open just five days earlier.

As usual in 2022, it was a tremendously competitive race with Pierce Seigne of Hanover, N.H., winning the New England championship with a 0.04 second win over Conard’s Callum Sherry.

Seigne, who spoke at his high school’s graduation speech on Friday night, won with a time of 4:07.09 (a New Hampshire state record according to the Concord Monitor) with Sherry second in 4:07.13 in a photo finish as both runners leaned for the finish. Ridgefield’s Steve Hergenrother was third in 4:09.49.

Morgan was the first medalist for the Falcons since Geoff Kirk finished second in the discus in 2016.

Morgan was one of more than a dozen Farmington Valley athletes competing at the New England championship meet.

Avon teammate Paul Netland III finished seventh in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.17.

Lewis Mills’ Michael Johnson won a New England championship in the 110 hurdles with a 0.20 second win over Stonington’s Joshua Mooney.

Johnson won with a time of 14.08 with Mooney taking second in 14.28. At the State Open championships on Monday, it was Mooney with the victory finishing in 14.37 with Johnson just a step back at 14.40.

In the 300 hurdles, Johnson had a season-best time of 39.06 seconds but was second to Nate Fletcher of Portsmouth, N.H., in 38.60.

Simsbury’s Timothy Watson won the New England championship in the high jump with a leap of 6-9, more than four inches ahead of Naugatuck’s Ese Onakpoma in second place (6-5). Watson cleared 6-10 to win the State Open for the second time on Monday and set a new state record of 7-0¾ earlier in the month at the Class L championship meet.

Simsbury’s Noble Gongon and Kyle Patterson also earned medals. Gongon was fourth in the 100 meters with a time of 11.02 while Patterson was sixth in the 200 with a time of 22.25 seconds.

In the girls competition, Simsbury’s Olivia Birney and two Trojan relay teams finished in the top six and brought home medals.

Birney was second in the 800 meters with a new school record time of 2:11.37. Birney was also part of Simsbury’s 4×400 relay (Victoria Francis, Leila Gary, Kayla Logan, Birney) and 4×800 relay (Abigail Smith, Grace Myers, Kate Martin, Birney) that each finished sixth.

In the 4×400, five of the top six teams were from Connecticut. In the 4×800, the top six teams were all from the Nutmeg State.

Farmington’s Sarah Warden finished tied for seventh in the pole vault. She cleared 10-3 before being eliminated at the next height (10-9). Warden was successful on her first three jumps at 9-0, 9-9 and 10-3. She set a new school record in the event this spring, clearing 10-6 twice at the CCC West championship meet and Monday’s State Open.

Simsbury’s Devyn Battistoni was 12th with a leap of 9-9

Canton’s Tommie Barker finished 13th in the shot with a throw of 36-1 feet – their second-best throw of the season. Barker’s best throw was a school-record thrown of 36-5½ at the State Open.

Barker plans to continue their track and field career next year at the University of Hartford.

This was the first New England championship in outdoor track since 2019. The 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2022 New England outdoor 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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