AVON, February 1 – Young men and women have been wrestling at Avon High for 50 years now. In all of that time, the Falcons have posted just four undefeated seasons.
The first undefeated campaign came in 1971 with a 13-0 record followed by a 14-0 mark the following season (1972). In 1987, the Falcons went 16-0.
Undefeated season No. 4 was earned on a Friday night in Avon with a 44-22 victory over Bristol Central. The Falcons, who also beat St. Paul and Rocky Hill earlier in the evening, finished the season 22-0.
And it concludes a championship season. A day earlier, Avon (22-0, 5-0 CCC North) won their first title since joining the Central Connecticut Conference four years ago with a 54-20 victory over Manchester to clinch the CCC North title.
“Avon has had a long successful history of wrestling. It’s amazing that this group will go down with the great teams of the past,” Avon High coach John McLaughlin said. “Being undefeated wasn’t even one of our team’s goals. It was just a byproduct of the team’s hard work. What a fun ride this has been.”
The Falcons have been ranked in the top 10 of the Connecticut Wrestling Online state poll for the entire season. Avon was third at the Frank Chaves Invitational behind Simsbury and defending New England champion Ponagansett, R.I. and had their best finish since 2009 at the Bristol Central Invitational with a third place finish.
Avon won the eleventh annual Doc Myers Brawl at the Hill in Rocky Hill on January 25 with a tournament record 261½ points with 10 wrestlers finishing in the top three of their respective weight classes. Windham was a distant second with 195 points.
Avon ran the table in the CCC North with five victories – three against Class LL competition (Glastonbury, East Hartford and Manchester) and two against Class L schools (Wethersfield and South Windsor). Avon is the smallest school in the CCC North.
“When we were winning NCCC championships we were one of the biggest teams in the conference,” McLaughlin said. Avon won the final eight NCCC titles in the North Central Connecticut Conference before leaving following the 2015 season.
“Now in the CCC, we are the smallest (school in CCC North),” he said. “It has made us better because every Wednesday night is a battle.”
The Falcons erased an early 16-point lead to beat Glastonbury, 45-30. Against Wethersfield, Avon took an early lead only to see Wethersfield cut it to 12 points. But Avon won the final bouts to earn a 45-18 victory and set up the match with Manchester to win a league title.
Against Manchester, the visiting Indians won three of the first four matches to take a 13-6 lead. The two teams traded wins but Avon was getting pins – worth six points – while Manchester was picking up decisions – worth 3 to 5 points.
With eight of 14 matches completed, Avon led by just one point, 21-20. But the Falcons won the final six bouts including four by pin to take a 54-20 victory and win the CCC North championship.
Chris Gens (220) and Henry Schrecengost (285) won with pins while Aidan Badhassarian (106) earned a 7-1 victory. Abhi Bhabad (112) and Max Jacobs (126) won with pins while Alex Rostenberg (120) won 8-0 for the Falcons.
“It became a team goal to win the CCC when these seniors were freshman.” McLaughlin said. “They spent the next four years working for that goal. It is an amazing feeling to see all of that hard work pay off. It is such a tight knit group who learned a good lesson about what hard work can bring.”
Avon closed out the regular season with victories over St. Paul, Rocky Hill and Bristol Central to extend Avon’s dual meet win streak to 26. The school record is 38, set over three seasons from 1970-73.
Avon has the weekend off before traveling to the Class M championship meet on February 15-16 at Guilford High School.
NOTES: Avon’s 22-0 start is the best in team history. … Only two other programs have more undefeated and untied seasons in state history – Danbury (11) and Conard-West Hartford (9).
Avon 54, Manchester 20
132: Justin Meador (A) pin Rakye Best, 5:19; 138: Shamar Schand (M) dec. Grant Corbett, 14-4; 145: Raul Mateo (M) tech fall Jarid Butler, 19-4; 152: Traivon Nieves (M) tech fall Gavin Douglas, 20-5; 160: Jack Colman (A) dec. Robert Clark, 5-4; 170: Sam Johnson (A) pin Alijah Curry, 3:26; 182: Tyler Dickenson (A) pin Nathan Schick, 1:23; 195: Gabe Fountain (M) pin Amir Johnson, 1:47; 220: Chris Gens (A) pin Kaleb Zimmerman, 1:49; 285: Henry Schrecengost (A) pin Nathan Keegan, 3:29; 106: Aidan Baghassarian (A) dec. Jonathan Jeans, 7-1; 113: Abhi Bhabad (A) pin Marco Svarestad, 3:01; 120: Alex Rostenberg (A) dec. Destiny Mateo, 8-0; 126: Max Jacobs (A) pin Zach Fareira, 1:02
Records: Avon 19-0, 5-0 CCC North; Manchester 8-9, 2-2 CCC North