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With seven straight pins, Avon takes control to win opener over Enfield

Avon’s Alex Rostenberg tries to push Enfield’s Justin Beiler away in Wednesday night’s bout at 120 pounds. Beiler won, 10-6 but Avon won the overall match.

AVON, Dec. 13 – It’s hasn’t been easy for the Avon High wrestling team in their first two years in the Central Connecticut Conference. They went 10-11 in their first season in 2015-16. A year ago, the Falcons struggled with a young, inexperienced team that went 10-12 and 1-5 in the CCC North.

But things are looking up for long-time coach John McLaughlin and the Falcons, who opened the season with a 57-19 win over Enfield in a CCC bout.

There was a good turnout this season with more than 30 wrestlers. Many wrestlers who picked up varsity experience last winter return and several got in plenty of off-season work.

“We know we’re a lot better than we were a year ago but we’re still pretty young,” McLaughlin said. “We still have only three seniors and only one (Vinny Bonalumi) is a four-year wrestler. The kids did a lot of off-season work. It will be interesting to see how that pays off.”

Bonalumi went 14-11 at 285 pounds a year ago but he is down to 182 pounds. He began his season with a win against the Eagles Wednesday night.

Avon’s Matt Bourquin controls Enfield’s Nick Miller in Wednesday night’s match at 195 pounds. Bourquin won by pin.

Junior Jack Coleman, who was 16-4 a year ago, at 160 returns along with Matt Bourquin (195) and Chris Gens (220). Bourquin is coming off a knee injury that cut his junior season short. At 285 is 6-foot-5 Henry Schrecengost, who is wrestling for the first time. “He’s a good athlete, he’s strong and he has incredible size,” McLaughlin said.

Juniors Abhi Bhabad (22-11), Alex Rostenberg (16-10) and Justin Meadow (17-12) all had winning records last year and all are back in the varsity lineup. Bhabad competed throughout the off-season, wrestling around 60 matches.

The Falcons will travel to the Plainville Invitational on Saturday and will get a good look at where they are when they host two-time defending CCC North champion East Hartford at Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 6 p.m. The Hornets went 21-1 a year ago.

Avon will be taking a holiday trip this year to Orlando, Florida to compete in the KSA Invitational at Disney’s Wide World of Sports on Thursday, Dec. 28 and Friday, Dec. 29.

Avon’s Vinny Bonalumi controls Enfield’s Greg Bogdan in Wednesday night’s bout at 182 pounds. Bonalumi won by pin.

Wednesday night’s opening bout with Enfield was a spirited match. Meador (132) and Grant Corbett (138) got the match going with a pair of pins but the visiting Eagles had two pins of their own to tie the bout at 12-12.

Avon’s Sam Johnson (160) battled to a 5-0 win over Tallon Stager to give the Falcons a three-point lead, 15-12. From that point, Avon won seven straight matches – all by pin – to take complete command of the contest.

Avon 57, Enfield 19
At Avon
132: Justin Meador (A) pin Kymiani Korda, 0:31; 138: Grant Corbett (A) pin Shawn Keeler, 1:51; 145: Kesean Mason (E) pin Gunner Propiesous, 2:26; 152; James Rivera (E) pin Andrew Sides, 2:16; 160: Sam Johnson (A) dec. Tallon Stager, 5-0; 170: Jack Coleman (A) pin Max Carson, 3:29; 182: Vinny Bonalumi (A) pin Greg Bogdan, 4:27; 195: Matt Bourquin (A) pin Nick Miller, 3:00; 220: Chris Gens (A) pin Andrew Dias, 3:12; 285: Henry Schrecengost (A) pin Matt Jackson, 3:03; 106: Ryan Baghdassarian (A) pin Eli Pelkey, 1:49; 113: Abhi Bhabad (A) pin Connor Belanger, 2:50; 120: Justin Beiler (E) dec. Alex Rostenberg, 10-6; 126: Sean Messina (E) dec. Jared Butler, 17-5
Records: Avon 1-0, Enfield 0-1

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.

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