It’s been a long time since there was a match between the Avon High wrestling team and Canton with the league championship on the line.
It will happen on Wednesday night when Avon hosts Canton as the two schools battle for the lead in the NCCC at 6:30 p.m. (Match moved to Thursday, Feb. 6 due to snow)
The championship won’t be decided on this evening. But the winner will have a huge leg up on taking home the pennant. Teams in the NCCC earn one point for every dual meet win and a half point for every team they beat the NCCC Tournament on February 15 in Avon.
It’s been a good season for the Warriors (11-7, 7-0 NCCC), who have won their first seven league matches for the first time ever in their history.
“We’ve definitely been improving,” Canton’s third-year coach Josh Kaplan said. “We’re doing some good things in the weight room. We still have a lot of young guys and they’ll make mistakes. But they’re working hard and doing what they need to do.”
Canton is led by seniors Skylar Lang (220), Devin Glasson (195), Dylan Houle (170) and Patrick Lawler (160). The Achilles heel for the Warriors has been forfeits. Depending on the health of the wrestlers, Canton has been forfeiting up to four weight classes per match, giving up at least 24 points. Canton had three forfeits in a 42-33 victory against Suffield/Windsor Locks/East Granby on Wednesday night but since the Wildcats also forfeited two weight classes, Canton gave up just six points.
Canton won five of the eight matches on the mat to beat Suffield and that will be the key against Avon. The Falcons will field a full lineup in all 14 weight classes. Canton will have to win this match on the mat.
Lang (220) and Trey VandeBogart (106) picked wins by pin against Suffield while teammate Patrick Lawler (152) earned a hard-fought 6-4 win over Bruce D’Agata. Freshmen Jake Allemendinger (160) and Brian Barger (120) picked up crucial victories. Allemendinger outlasted Scott Miller, 9-2 while Barger pinned Brandon Armstrong in 3:07.
Canton is looking to beat Avon for the first time since 2002 – the last time that Canton won the league title.
“We’ve had that date circled on the calendar for a while now,” Avon coach John McLaughlin said.
Avon (12-6, 6-0 NCCC) hasn’t lost a league match since 2007 and has won 49 consecutive league meets. But this is a different team this winter. Two Class M champions and another Class M finalist either graduated or didn’t return.
“We’re very young,” McLaughlin said. “We have just three seniors and three juniors on the team. The rest are underclassmen.”
The Falcons have done well within the league but their youth has shown on Saturday afternoon matches in losses to Maloney, Hall, Bristol Eastern, Farmington and Windham. Eastern, Farmington and Windham have each been ranked in the state coaches top 10 poll at one point this season.
The recent 33-31 loss to Hall was a good experience for the Falcons. Most matches were close and there were few pins. “That was good for both teams,” McLaughlin said. “They’ll learn more in those six minutes on the mat than quickly pinning a kid. It’s not about wins and losses this year. It’s about getting experience for the near future.”
Avon is led by Gino Bonalumi (285), Anthony Tripodi (106), Puck Quijano (120) and Nick Brere (132).
Avon finished second at the John Williams Duals in Vernon last weekend, easily beating East Catholic, East Hartford and a collection of junior varsity wrestlers from the other five teams in the tournament. But Windham handled Avon in the final, 52-19.
Avon hosts Suffield/W.Locks/E.Granby, Middletown, No. 6 Fairfield Warde on Friday night beginning at 4 p.m. while Canton will compete at the Ground Hog Duals in South Windsor this weekend.
TITLE ON THE LINE? The CCC West championship could be on the line Wednesday when Simsbury (9-3, 4-0 CCC West) travels to Newington (7-1, 4-0 CCC West) to tangle with the Indians for a 6:30 p.m. start.
Leading by just three points, No. 7 Simsbury won the final seven bouts to beat New Britain, 57-18 on Wednesday while Newington handled Hall in a tight match, 37-31. Newington faces New Britain on Saturday in its Hastings Duals tournament.
Newington outlasted defending CCC West champion Farmington last week, winning by one point, 34-33 on criteria. There is a list of criteria used to break ties. High on the list is penalties and one Farmington wrestler was penalized for misconduct. That was the difference.
Simsbury will close out its CCC West campaign at Farmington (20-2, 4-1 CCC West) on Feb. 12.
Canton 42, Suffield/Windsor Locks/EG 33
145: Jeff Glassman (S) dec. Noah Korner, 3-2; 152: Patrick Lawler (C) dec. Bruce D’aGata, 6-4; 160: Jake Allmendinger (C) dec. Scott Miller, 9-2; 170: Dylan Houle (C) forfeit; 182: Khamri Thomas (S) pin Dakota Carey, 3:30; 195: Devin Glasson (C) forfeit; 220: Skylar Lang (C) pin Nick Condon, 1:22; 285: Will Szozda (S) forfeit; 106: Trey VandeBogart (C) pin Madison D’ostuni, 0:27; 113: Hayden DiMaio (C) forfeit; 120: Brian Barger (C) pin Brandon Armstrong, 3:07; 126: Matt Guiollmette (S) forfeit; 132: Stewart Adams (S) forfeit; 138: Steven Sobota (S) pin Joe Joslin, 2:40
Records: Canton 11-7, 7-0 NCCC; Suffield/WL/EG 4-9, 4-2 NCCC