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Avon’s Chris Gens wins second consecutive Class M championship – The Collinsville Press
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Avon’s Chris Gens wins second consecutive Class M championship

Avon High senior Chris Gens (top) won his second straight Class M state championship in Guilford.

GUILFORD, February 22, 2020 – Avon High senior Chris Gens rolled through Saturday’s Class M championship tournament with four pins to win his second straight state championship.

Gens (39-0) pinned Brookfield’s Adam Frame in the championship match in 3:51 to become the first Avon High wrestler since Joey Murphy (2012-13) to win back-to-back state titles.

Gens has pins in six of his last seven matches with four in the Class M tournament and two in the Central Connecticut Conference’s Small Division tournament a week ago. At the Class M meet, Gens began the tournament with a 30 second pin over Stratford’s Tahjir Ricks-Burgos in the second round before pinning Platt’s Ommy Velez in 2:06.

Gens had a surprising quick pin in the semifinals, beating Masuk’s Austin Pompa in 39 seconds.

With five medalists, Avon finished eighth in Class M, just a half-point behind Platt (120½). The top six finishers in each weight class qualify for the State Open championships.

Whiles Gens finished first, freshman Jonah Weber (113) advanced to the final and finished second. Junior Jared Butler (145) took third with sophomore Aidan Baghdassarian (106) finishing fourth and junior Zach Coleman (126) taking fifth.

Weber finished second in a tournament for the second week in a row. He was second at the CCC Small Division tournament falling to Class L finalist Bryce Arnold of Wethersfield in the championship match, 6-1.

At the Class M meet, Weber pinned Berlin’s Landon Vieria in the quarterfinals in 2:35 and pinned Foran’s Antonio Madero in the semifinals in 38 seconds. But in the championship match, Suffield/Windsor Locks’ Josh Nieroda took control from the beginning, getting a takedown within five seconds of the opening whistle and earned a 6-0 victory.

Butler (37-7) won his first two matches at the Class M tournament before dropping a 6-1 decision to Brookfield’s Louis Stabile in the semifinals. In the consolation bracket, Butler pinned East Haven’s Hugo Ortiz in 1:51 and finished third by pinning Caleb Ferland of Ellis Tech in 42 seconds.

A week earlier, Butler finished third at 145 in the CCC Small Division tournament.

Baghdassarian lost his opening match on Friday night to Foran’s Orlando Velez, 7-3 but rebounded with four straight victories in the consolation bracket to pick up a medal and finish fourth at 106 pounds.

Baghdassarian (19-9) had three consecutive pins before beating Guilford’s Mohammed Halabi, 6-3 to earn a spot in the consolation finals. East Haven’s Dominic Milano beat Baghdassarian, 12-2 to finish third.

Coleman (25-11) finished fifth with an 8-4 win over Jonathan Law’s Dylan Benedetti. Coleman was 4-2 in the tournament.

Avon was ninth in last week’s CCC Small Division tournament with four wrestlers earning medals. Gens went undefeated to win at 220 pounds while Weber was second at 113 pounds. Ivan Fagin finished sixth at 120 pounds while Cameron Casey was sixth at 138.

Suffield/Windsor Locks won five of their final eight matches, including three in the championship finals to become the second co-op school in state history to win a wrestling state championship with a 5½-point win over Foran, 187 to 181½. The Old Saybrook/Westbrook co-op team won a Class S championship in 2012.

Josh Nieroda (113), Zachary Johns (126) and Dylan Washburn (145) brought home championships for the Wildcats, who won their first North Central Connecticut Conference title since 2007 a week ago.

CIAC Class M championships
At Guilford
Team results – 1. Suffield/Windsor Locks 187, 2. Foran 181½, 3. RHAM 166, 4. Branford 163, 5. East Haven 145, 6. Joel Barlow 138, 7. Platt 120½, 8. Avon 120, 9. Brookfield 116, 10. New London 104, 11. Guilford 84½, 12. Berlin 83½, 13. New Fairfield 81½, 14. Waterford 80, 15. Weston 75½, 16. Ellis Tech 62, 17. Stratford 51, 18. Bethel 47½, 19. Masuk 44, 20. Notre Dame-West Haven 39, 21. Jonathan Law 29, 22. Watertown 25, 23. Rockville 9, 24. Torrington 6, 25. St. Joseph 3.
Championship finals
106 Josh Brault (Joel Barlow) dec. Daniel Taggart (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 14-2
113 Josh Nieroda (Suffield/Windsor Locks) dec. Jonah Weber (Avon), 6-0
120 Zackary Kanaitis (RHAM) pin Mason Concascia (Waterford), 5:39
126 Zachary Johns (Suffield/Windsor Locks) dec. Matt Divito (East Haven), 9-0
132 Alec Divito (East Haven) dec. James Rondini (Platt), 3-2
138 Tanner Divito (East Haven) dec. Devin Anderson (New Fairfield), 8-4
145 Dylan Washburn (Suffield/Windsor Locks) pin Louis Stabile (Brookfield), 1:11
152 Alex Klein Wassink (Joel Barlow) dec. Breon Phifer (Weston), 9-3
160 Zahir McLean-Felix (Brookfield) dec. Xavier Powell (Watertown), 11-5
170 Frankie McNeary (Joel Barlow) dec. Colman Doucette (New Fairfield), 5-3
182 David Justin Osler (Branford) pin Jackson Harshberger (Waterford), 1:24
195 Carson LiCastri (Joel Barlow) pin Jadian Mackenzie (New London), 2:37
220 Christopher Gens (Avon) pin Adam Frame (Brookfield), 3:51
285 Luke Fuerstenberg (Platt) dec. Minsok Lee (Branford), 8-1
Consolation finals, 3rd place
106 Dominic Milano (East Haven) dec. Aidan Baghdassarian (Avon), 12-2
113 Matthew Carrozza (Brookfield) pin Antonio Madero (Foran), 2:42
120 Thomas Bock (New Fairfield) pin Nicholas Koops (Berlin), 4:06
126 Tanish Joshi (Foran) pin Jeremy Devine (RHAM), 2:53
132 Kyle Pokornowski (Foran) dec. Ghassen Saleh (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 6-2
138 Logan Kanaitis (RHAM) pin Michael Vanchot (Foran), 2:03
145 Jared Butler (Avon) pin Caleb Ferland (Ellis Tech), 0:42
152 Matthew Raine (Suffield/Windsor Locks) dec. Ethan Edmondson (Foran), 4-1
160 Andrew Robinson (Branford) pin Gavin White (Ellis Tech), 4:25
170 Cristian Calero (Platt) dec. Genaro Anselmo (RHAM), 5-1
182 James Duhancik (Stratford) dec. Evean Oquendo (Platt), 16-8
195 Colton Deleo (Masuk) pin Joseph McGuire (Weston), 2:03
220 Will Robb (Suffield/Windsor Locks) pin Austin Pompa (Masuk), 0:39
285 Patrick Rescsanski (Foran) pin Keeano Javon Gonzalez (New London), 1:26
106 Mohammad Halabi (Guilford) pin Jerry Hill (Bethel), 0:59
113 Tristen Jaxon Robledo-Thompson (New London) dec. John Fernandes (Guilford), 10-2
120 Jace Korab (Branford) dec. Luke Plano (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 4-2
126 Zachery Colman (Avon) dec. Dylan Benedetti (Jonathan Law), 8-4
132 Patrick Zdunek (Branford) dec. Devin Hanelius (RHAM), 12-4
138 Tyler Barber (Berlin) dec. Tristyn-Myles D’Aniello (Platt), 10-9
145 Noah Boozer (New London) pin Hugo Ortiz (East Haven), 4:24
152 Ryan Maleryn (RHAM) forfeit over Mathew Merrigan (Platt), 0-0
160 Brent Strand (Guilford) dec. Fabricio Bugatti (East Haven), 10-0
170 Aidan O’Connor (Berlin) dec. Samuel Poffenberger (Foran), 8-0
182 Andrew Keene (RHAM) medical forfeit over Alex Barbour (Notre Dame-West Haven)
195 Cody McHenry (Branford) dec. Morgan Haskett (Bethel), 2-1
220 Teshua Williams (New London) pin Jacob Madarang (Foran), 3:34
285 Tyler Kruse (East Haven) forfeit over Zachary Ralsky (Joel Barlow)
Outstanding wrestler: Carson LiCastri, Joel Barlow

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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