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New Avon Track and Field Record Board Unveiled

The Avon High School Booster Club has plans for record boards for all sports teams if fundraising is achieved.

Avon High School graduates Jeff Hyman '82 and Rich Reichler '69 are tied for the 800-meter dash record (1:56.8), Ed Roy pole vaulted an all-time high of 13 feet, 3 inches in 1971 and Claire Smith ran the fastest two-mile race in school history (11:13.91) in 2009.

These are just some of the school records featured on a new display board that the Booster Club unveiled during halftime at the boys varsity basketball game last Friday and gifted to the school district.

The board — located in the hallway outside the high school cafeteria, across from the athletic department offices — contains all school track and field records since the program started in 1962.

The track program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last spring, was one of the first sports at the high school, according to Avon parent Marianne Smith. She serves as Booster Club team representative for track and field, cross country and soccer.

"Marianne put a lot of work into this and it's a great tribute to our track athletes who wouldn't otherwise get publicity for it," said Avon track and field coach Albert Dadario, who was also recently named CIAC Outstanding Girls Cross Country Coach for 2012.

Smith has been working on the project for nearly two years. She and the Booster Club spearheaded the fundraising efforts to fully cover the $5,000 combined cost of the "Avon High School" heading and track and field board combined.

David Zlatin, Avon assistant track coach, gathered the records, with some help from Collinsville Press sportswriter Gerry deSimas Jr., Smith said. The process also required going through microfiche of old newspaper articles, according to Avon Athletic Coordinator Newell Porch.

In the past, coaches have kept their own records, meaning information was sometimes lost if a coach left, according to Porch.

"The reason it's needed is that coming here I didn't have any files on existing records," Porch said. "It's a tremendous addition to the athletic department."

The record display board initiative will help "re-establish" that information, he said. The track and field board will be updated every year, starting summer of 2014. People can look at the board after attending games in the gym down the hall or upon exiting the cafeteria, Porch said.

Smith praised Peter Gaski, Avon Public Schools director of facilities, and his crew for assisting with the prep work for the project.

"They were always very accommodating," she said.

The long-term plan is to have five different boards representing all of the teams, provided that each team raises enough money for their portion of the display, Smith said. The track and field board is the largest because there are many events, she said.

Swimming and football records will likely be the next to be posted, Smith said.

Smith has been involved in the Booster Club since about 2008. Her twins, Claire and Colin, who graduated in 2010, both did track and field. Claire's name is on the record board and she was also the last Avon individual to qualify for the girls cross country New England championship. Smith's oldest child, Amanda played field hockey in Avon. All three have been captains. Her youngest daughter, Caroline is a junior and has played varsity soccer at the high school for three years.

But Smith wants families to continue to support the sports teams beyond when they have kids on the teams. She also hopes the record boards will encourage a heightened "sense of history and school spirit" for the athletes. 

"These are things that can help bring up spirit and involvement," Smith said, adding that the high school has high participation in athletics.

The Booster Club's goal is to have "involvement from all of the sports" to fundraise for their own record board. The whole project, including the track portion, is estimated to cost $10,000 in fundraising.

If any record-holding veterans or others want to contribute, donations can be made by writing a check out to the Avon Booster Club, Smith said.

Checks can be mailed to:

Avon Booster Club
C/o Marianne Smith
13 Stevens St.
Avon, CT 06001

Smith and the athletics department are also asking school recordholders to share that information with them to help with the project.

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