CANTON, Jan. 21 – The Canton High wrestling team made several mistakes on the mat Wednesday night in its NCCC match with Avon. The Falcons were more than happy to make the Warriors pay in a 59-12 victory.
Several Canton wrestlers turned to their backs and got pinned. Some let their Avon opponents control the match by controlling the hands and wrists. And they never got that control back. One Canton wrestler had his opponent on his back but couldn’t pin him. He got pinned later himself.
“We have mostly juniors and seniors,” Avon coach John McLaughlin said. “They don’t make mistakes that freshmen or sophomores will make.”
The Falcons (14-1, 4-0 NCCC) had eight pins and won six of the first seven matches to seize control of the bout. Canton (12-7, 3-1 NCCC) lost its first league match of the season.
Canton was missing three starters due to injuries. Nate Scull (160) is out after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against Gilbert. Stephen Carpenter (119) got hurt in gym class on Tuesday and Ben Miner (152) is being slowed by a bad back. That didn’t make a difference in the outcome.
“I’m disappointed,” Canton coach Bill Phelps said. “Avon is tough. They graduated a lot of kids but they all worked hard over the summer. They have more experience than we do but it should have been closer than it was.”
Avon took advantage of every opportunity, even without James Gendler (135), an outstanding sophomore out for the year after fracturing his elbow last weekend. “Canton is a very good team but we had a great night tonight,” McLaughlin said.
Avon took a quick 9-0 lead after a pin from Joe Tripodi (125) and a decision from Eric Remigino (130), who built a lead over Matt Grisevich and controlled him for the third period.
Canton’s Nate Getler (135) remained undefeated (22-0) with a pin of Robert Davies, filling in for Gendler. But Avon won seven of the next eight bouts to seize control of the match.
At 140, Avon’s Matt Silver took advantage when Brandon Leach turned to his back and pinned him with eight seconds left in the first period. At 160, Avon’s Mike Hogan handed Canton’s Rich Jones just his second loss of the year, 13-8. Jones threw Hogan to his back in the final 10 seconds but there wasn’t enough time to get a pin.
The closest bout of the night was at 171 pounds with Canton’s Nate Haller outlasting Avon’s David Wyrick, 5-4. Haller rode out the third period and Wyrick escaped but not until the buzzer had sounded ending the match.
The only real challenge left in the North Central Connecticut Conference for the Falcons in their quest for a fourth championship in five years is Somers, who they face on the final day of the regular season, Wednesday, Feb. 11, on the road.
Each team gets one point for a dual meet victory and a half point for every team they beat at the league tournament. But if Avon can go undefeated in the league (7-0), it’s highly unlikely they would finish third in the league and lose the championship.
“The kids that are here are really wrestling great,” McLaughlin said. “They are one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever had. It’s a pleasure to come to practice every day.”
Canton and Avon will meet again in the NCCC Tournament in Canton on Saturday, Feb. 13. Phelps and the Warriors are looking forward to a better showing.
“We’ve had a good start this year,” Phelps said referring to wins in 11 of their first 15 matches. “We still have a long way to go. We need to be wrestling better for the Class S tournament. But we can do it. We can wrestle better.”
Avon 59, Canton 12
125: Joe Tripodi (A) pin Matt Yacovino, 0:59; 130: Eric Remigino (A) dec. Matt Grisevich, 10-7; 135: Nate Getler (C) pin Robert Davies, 3:02; 140: Matt Silver (A) pin Brandon Leach, 1:52; 145: Eric Lybeck (A) pin Anthony Santiago, 0:51; 152: Mike Dugan (A) forfeit; 160: Mike Hogan (A) dec. Rich Jones, 13-8; 171: Nate Haller (C) dec. David Wyrick, 5-4; 189: Leo Herbert (A) pin Greg Cole, 1:17; 215: Sonny Portelance (A) pin Sean Delany, 5:32; 285: Don MacDonald (A) pin Cole Murphy, 1:56; 103: Matt White (C) dec. Jason Lybeck, 6-2; 112: Connor Douglas (A) pin Brian Fitzpatrick, 1:32; 119: Herbie Brown (A) pin Tyler Fitzpatrick, 0:32
Records: Avon 14-1, 4-0 NCCC: Canton 12-7, 3-1 NCCC