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Six Avon High athletes earn All-State honors this winter – The Collinsville Press
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Six Avon High athletes earn All-State honors this winter

Four of Avon High’s six athletes that earned All-State honors this winter. From left, Jack Martin, Jack Hall, Kori Bartko and Chris Gens. Martin also earned All-New England honors in the one mile. (Martin photo courtesy MySportsResults.com)

AVON – Six Avon High athletes have earned All-State honors for their athletic achievements during the past winter season.

Junior forward Jack Hall earned All-State honors in boys basketball, sophomore Jack Martin and junior Max Raha earned All-State honors in track and field while senior Chris Gens was named All-State for the second straight year in wrestling. On the ice, Kori Bartko and Shelby Little of the Avon/Southington co-op girls hockey team also earned All-State honors.

Hall had a breakout year for the Avon High boys basketball team that returned to the CIAC state tournament after missing out a year earlier. He averaged over 22 points a game this season but had several outstanding efforts including a career-high 38 points in a win over Rockville, 37 points in a season-opening win over Lewis Mills and 35 points in a victory over Bloomfield in February.

Hall had 25 points as the Falcons erased a six-point deficit in the final four minutes to beat Farmington to win the Taft Cup in January. Hall had 11 consecutive points for the Falcons at one point. In Avon’s only state tournament before the CIAC Division III tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall had 33 points to lead the Falcons to an 11-point win over Bethel.

There have been several Avon High players to make second team All-State, including Jordan Williams in 2018 when the Falcons advanced to the CIAC Division III finals. But Hall is the first Falcon to earn first team All-State honors since Nate Laszewski did as a sophomore in 2015.

It’s been a strong year for Martin, who earned All-State honors in the fall by becoming the first Falcon in 35 years to win a state title in boys cross country with a 21-second victory in the Class MM championship race.

Martin earned All-State and All-New England honors in indoor track and field – the first runner in program history to earn All-New England honors. Martin came from behind to win the one-mile race at the New England championships in Boston. “He ran a smart race,” Avon coach Courtney Fusco said. “He was as far back as seventh or eighth with three laps to go. But with around 300 meters left in the race, he unleashed his (finishing) kick, closing in on 56 seconds for his last 400 meters and winning by nearly two seconds.”

Martin and Raha were the first Avon High athletes to win indoor track state titles since 1982 with victories at the Class M championship meet. Martin won the 1,600 meters with a school-record time of 4:19.82. The New England meet runs the mile instead of the 1,600 meters.

Raha won a Class MM title in the long jump. Raha had the top leap in qualifying with a jump of 20-7¾ feet. On his second jump of the finals, he extended his lead to 20-10. Torrington’s Ranger Pascual improved throughout the competition but couldn’t catch Raha. Pasqual finished second with a leap of 20-8¾.

Martin and Raha both helped Avon finish sixth in Class M – their best finish in a CIAC championship meet since the program was resurrected in 2010.

Gens earned All-State honors by winning the 220-pound weight class at the Class M championship meet for the second straight year. Gens added to his achievements by becoming the first Avon High wrestler since 2007 to win a State Open championship with a 3-0 win over Danbury’s D.J. Donovan.

Gens (47-1) won his first 45 matches of the season before losing his first match of the year in the semifinals of the New England tournament. But Gens rallied with two more victories to finish third and become the first Avon High wrestler to bring home a New England tournament medal since 2003.

Bartko and Little were named to the Connecticut High School Girls Hockey Association All-State team. The two players helped the Avon/Southington co-op team finish third in the first season in the Central Connecticut Conference. The Nighthawks were 15-8-1 and 5-4-1 in the CCC.

Bartko, the player of the year in the CCC, had a team-leading 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points. Little was a standout defenseman for the Nighthawks, who went 1-1 in the CHSGHA state tournament. Avon/Southington dominated Bethel, 5-2 for the co-op’s first-ever state tournament win. The Nighthawks were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Greenwich, 1-0.

Bartko and Little are the first Avon girls hockey players to earn All-State status.

Avon is also part of the Farmington Valley Generals, the co-op hockey team hosted by Farmington. Matthew Arena, a Farmington High athlete, earned All-State honors playing for the Generals.


Boys Basketball
Coach:
Kris Pedra
Record: 13-9, 6-4 CCC West Patriot (tied 2nd)
All-CCC West: Jack Hall
All-State (CHSCA): Jack Hall
CCC championships: Lost to Glastonbury, 52-40 in first round
CIAC state tournament: Beat Bethel in Division III first round, 71-60 before tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Girls Basketball
Coach:
Jamaal Lee
Record: 7-14, 1-9 CCC West Patriot (4th)
All-CCC West: Abby St. Onge
All-State (CHSCA): none
CCC championships: Did not qualify
CIAC state tournament: Lost to East Catholic in Class MM first round, 43-35

Boys Ice Hockey
Co-Coaches:
Michael Barone and Scott Percival
Record: 19-3-1, 8-3-1 CCC North (2nd)
All-CCC North: Jackson Holl (Avon)
All-State (CHSCA): Matthew Arena (Farmington)
CCC North Tournament: Beat Northwest Catholic, 4-2 to win championship
CIAC state tournament: Beat East Haven, 6-2 in Division II first round before tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic
NOTE: Avon is part of a co-op team that includes Farmington (host), Windsor and Lewis Mills

Girls Ice Hockey
Coach: Michael Carrera
Record: 15-8-1, 5-4-1 CCC (3rd)
All-CCC: Kori Bartko, Shelby Little
All-State (CHSGHA): Kori Bartko (Avon), Shelby Little (Avon)
All-State (GameTimeCT): Kori Bartko
CCC Tournament: Lost to Simsbury, 4-2 in CCC Tournament final
CT High School Girls Hockey Association state tournament: Lost to Greenwich, 1-0 in CHSGHA quarterfinals
NOTE: Avon is the host of the co-op team with Southington, RHAM, Newington, Wethersfield and Lewis Mills. Little was named second team All-State by GameTimeCT.

Boys Indoor Track and Field
Coach:
Courtney Fusco
Record: No dual meet record
All-CCC West: Tyler Hinrichs, Jack Martin, Anish Rajamanickham, Max Raha, Jack Donlin, Hari Patchigolla
All-State (CHSCA): Jack Martin, Max Raha
All-State (GameTimeCT): Jack Martin
All-New England: Jack Martin
CCC championships: 4th in CCC; 4th in CCC West
CIAC state tournament: 6th in Class M; 18th at State Open

Girls Indoor Track and Field
Coach:
Courtney Fusco
Record: No dual meet record
All-Conference: none
CCC championships: 17th in CCC; 8th in CCC West
CIAC state tournament: 25th in Class M

Boys Swimming
Coach:
Trevor Morse
Record: Unavailable
All-CCC North: George Clark, Rahul Kumar, Siddharth Kumar, Gautham Kumar, Sarah Grady (diving), Antonio Arias-Camison, Dejvid Valshti
All-State (CHSCA): none
CIAC state tournament: Class M championship cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Wrestling
Coach:
John McLaughlin
Record: 18-7, 3-2 CCC North (3rd)
All-CCC North: Jonah Weber, Jared Butler, Chris Gens
All-State (CHSCA): Chris Gens
CCC championships: 9th at CCC Small
CIAC state tournament: 8th in Class M; 21st at State Open

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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