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Avon wrestlers capture fifth NCCC title in 6 years – The Collinsville Press
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Avon wrestlers capture fifth NCCC title in 6 years

AVON, Feb. 15 — It’s hard to call a team with nine seniors inexperienced but when the Avon High wrestling team hit the mat this winter, they didn’t have a lot of varsity experience. The Falcons returned only four starters.

But the Falcons matured and turned in another championship season. Avon clinched its fifth NCCC championship in the last six years with a dominating performance at last weekend’s NCCC Tournament at Granby High. Avon put 11 wrestlers in the finals and came away with three champions to win the tournament by nearly 50 points over Somers, 214.5 to 155.

For the fifth year in a row, Avon (23-6) swept through the NCCC’s dual meet campaign with a 7-0 record. Teams earn points for dual meet victories and teams they beat at the league tournament.

Freshman Joe Murphy (145 pounds), junior Leo Hebert (171) and senior Joel Proffitt (285) won championships. Jessica McCamish (103), Jason Lybeck (112), Eric Remigino (130), James Gendler (135), Mike Hogan (152), Ryan Pearson (160), Alex Hodgson (189) and Sonny Portelance (215) each finished second. Lybeck and Hodgson lost in overtime.

“We had a great day,” Avon coach John McLaughlin said. “I was really proud of the kids. We really brought it together in the semifinals, getting 11 into the finals.”

Only three weight classes didn’t have an Avon wrestler in the championship bout. “The finals were a little tougher for us,” McLaughlin said, “but it was still a good day.”

Murphy (28-5) and Ellington’s Matt Janiga found themselves in a high-scoring affair in the finals at 145 pounds but it was Murphy who was able to pull away in the third period of a 20-15 victory.

Hebert (18-9) was the third seed at 171 pounds but he prevailed in a 2-1 semifinal victory over No. 2 seed Kyle Sheridan of Suffield. In the final, he trailed by three points to Somers’ Kyle Foster but he threw Foster to the mat in the third period and rallied for a 5-3 victory.

Proffitt (25-9) is a senior and a first-year wrestler. But he was still able to earn a pair of victories including pinning Stafford’s Garth Gilligan in 5:59 to win his first NCCC championship.

Lybeck lost to Somers’ Anthony Andrade, 4-2 in OT while Hodgson fell in OT by a 5-3 score. Hodgson entered the tournament as a junior varsity wrestler but in the quarterfinals, he upset the top seed, teammate David St. Onge, 4-3. Hodgson continued by pinning Stafford’s Nick Lerch in the semifinals in 2:58. St. Onge won three matches in the consolation round to finish third.

The Falcons will compete in the CIAC Class M tournament this weekend at Windham High.

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 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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