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This page was last updated on: August 14, 2002

Copyright 2002, Collinsville Publishing Company
2002 NCCC Tournament -- Sat. Feb. 9

2002 NCCC Tournament
At Granby
Team results  1. Avon 196, 2. Canton 184.5, 3. Stafford 128.5, 4. East Windsor 108.5, 5. Enfield 76, 6. Suffield 75, 7. Granby 59, 8. Tolland 38, 9. Somers 21
Individual results
103: Jason Vermies, East Windsor, pin David Brummert, Canton, 2:31; 3. Seby Lara, Avon pin Adam Rivard, Somers, 2:58

112: Eric Bartholomew, Stafford dec. Pat Lamondia, Enfield, 12-2; 3. Matt Giubo, Tolland pin Joel Hava, Avon, 0:59

119: Josh Bristol, Canton dec. Chris Taglavini, Suffield, 16-6; 3. C.J. Staiger, East Windsor dec. Reed Timme, Avon, 3-1

125: Rob Tolk, Avon pin Anthony Daniels, Canton, 1:04; 3. Ryan Forziati, Stafford pin Bryant Chouinard, Stafford JV, 0:47

130: Austin Borg, Suffield dec. Adam Freilich, Avon, 6-2; 3. Will Arcardi, Enfield dec. Brett Toney, Stafford, 14-13

135: Bernie Cunningham, Tolland dec. Colby Johnstone, Suffield, 6-2; 3. Chris Ziemba, Canton dec. Scott Chamberlain, Granby, 12-0

140: Josh Kaplan, Canton tech. fall Lukas Mihaliak, Stafford, 17-2, 5:43; 3. Sean Lanning, East Windsor pin Paul Courtois, Somers, 4:08

145: Mike Fuller, Stafford dec. Mike Nadeau, Granby, 13-9; 3. Chris Kauffman, Enfield pin Will Hatch, Canton, 0:38

152: Joe Friedhoff, Avon dec. Jeremy Kauffman, Enfield, 12-9; 3. Sam Junno, Canton dec. Joe Toney, Stafford, 7-6

160: Brendon Roche, Avon dec. Pete Okrasa, East Windsor, 8-3; 3. Josh Vegulla, Stafford pin Adam Orlowski, Avon JV, 1:50

171: Ron Pelly, East Windsor pin Chris Palozie, Canton, 0:35; 3. Dan Jamieson, Avon pin Ross Faber, Stafford, 2:30

189: Eric Goldstein, Avon pin Mike Grafstein, Canton, 0:25; 3. Chris Rossi, Suffield pin James Cody, Granby, 2:47

215: Ryan Walsh, Avon pin Adam Szychowski, Canton, 3:55; 3. John Fornwalt, East Windsor pin Kris Segars, Enfield, 2:03

275: Brian Dubiel, Avon pin Steve Babcock, Canton, 1:12; 3. Aaron Cardenas, Granby win by injury default over Rory Parker, Canton JV

Outstanding wrestler: Ron Pelly (171), East Windsor
Fast fall: Eric Goldstein (189), Avon, 3 pins in 1:18

Final league standings: Canton 19 points, Avon 18, Stafford 14, East Windsor 11, Granby 6,  Suffield 5, Enfield 4, Tolland 1, Somers 0

Connecticut Wrestling Online
GRANBY, Feb. 9, 2002 --- The ending was dramatic and emotional.

With three matches remaining in the 2002 NCCC wrestling tournament, regular season champion Canton held a 6½ point lead over Avon. All three matches (189, 215, 275) paired Canton and Avon wrestlers.

It was over in a matter of minutes. Avon's Eric Goldstein (189), Ryan Walsh (215) and Brian Dubiel (275) each won by pin to complete a dramatic comeback as the Falcons won the NCCC Tournament for the second straight year with a 196-184½ win over Canton.

Avon chipped away at the lead all afternoon. Canton led as many as 21 points during the afternoon but by the time the finals had begun, the lead had shrunk to 10.

A win by Canton's Josh Bristol (125) gave the Warriors a 15-point lead but six of the seven wrestlers Avon placed in the finals won.

Avon and Canton went head-to-head in four weight classes (125, 189, 215, 275). Avon won all four. Canton had eight wrestlers in the finals but only two came home as winners.

"We didn't quit," proud Avon coach John McLaughlin said. "I told them before the finals whether we win or lose, go out and get some respect from everyone in there. When it came down to it, they wanted it in the finals."

The tournament may have turned in the 152-pound final.

Top-seeded Jeremy Kauffman led Avon's Joe Friedhoff, 9-3 after two periods. But in the third period, Friedhoff escaped, took Kauffman down and turned him to his back three times, twice in the last 17 seconds to earn a stunning 12-9 victory.

"I wrestled from my heart and worked harder than I ever have before," said Friehoff, who lost to Kauffman in overtime during the regular season when he was penalized one point for locking hands. "I knew I could beat him."

Leading 9-4, Kauffman tried to throw Friedhoff to the mat with an underhook but Kauffman ended up on his back. Friedhoff's win cut the Canton lead to 10½ points.

At 160, Brendan Roche won his second straight NCCC title to cut the lead to 6½ points. Canton couldn't extend its lead at 171 when tournament MVP Ron Pelly of East Windsor pinned Chris Palozie.

Avon cut the lead to a half point at 189 when Eric Goldstein won his second straight title with a 25 second pin of Canton's Mike Grafstein, catching the Warrior grappler in a headlock.

Avon's Ryan Walsh (215) kept Canton's top-seeded Adam Szychowski at bay. Three times, Szychowski tried to throw down Walsh with headlocks and three times, Walsh was able to end up with the takedown.

The third time, Szychowski ended up on his back and Walsh pinned him in 3:55 to give Avon its first lead of the day, 190-184½.

Szychowski had pinned Walsh with a headlock during their previous meeting.

Avon's Brian Dubiel (275) iced the victory with a pin over Canton's Steve Babcock.

"It was great finally getting some of our pride back against them," Walsh said.

By finishing second, Canton was able to claim its fourth NCCC championship. The Warriors earned 12 points by winning all six of its league meets including a 39-36 win over Avon in January and another seven points to finish with 19. Avon (5-1 NCCC) earned eight points Saturday and 10 during the regular season to finish with 18.

"We wrestled great," Canton coach Bill Phelps said. "I didn't see anyone not wrestle up to their ability today."

The loss of Tom Bujold (23-5 at 135 pounds) two weeks ago to a broken collarbone hurt the Warriors' title hopes. He was undefeated in the league when he was lost for the season.

Josh Kaplan (135) won his third straight NCCC title for the Warriors while David Brummert (103), Anthony Daniels (125), Palozie (171), Grafstein (189), Szychowski (215) and Babcock (275) each finished second.

Avon sophomore Rob Tolk (125) remained undefeated at 32-0 with a dominating performance. He pinned Daniels in 1:04 for his second straight NCCC crown. Falcon teammate Adam Freilich (130) finished second.

"We knew Canton has one of the best teams they have had," McLaughlin said. "They came to wrestle early and clearly wanted it more. But we got stronger in the last few rounds. We did a good job fighting back. We beat a lot of kids we lost to earlier in the season."

For Avon, it was a record 12th NCCC Tournament trophy while Canton finished second for the ninth time. The final 11½ point difference was the third closest finish in league history. East Windsor beat Avon by six in 1998 and Avon beat Canton by 9½ in 1994.

But no NCCC tournament has ever come down to the final three matches before. The two teams meet again next week in the Class S tournament in Berlin.

MAT DUST: East Windsor's Jason Vermies (103) won his second straight NCCC title. ... Suffield senior Austin Borg (130) improved to 29-2 with a 6-2 win over Freilich and won his second title in four years.  ...  Tolland's Bernie Cunningham (135) won for the second time in three years. 

Dramatic rally gives Falcons  NCCC Tourney championship
Canton claims league title with second place finish
2002 NCCC standings
               Lg.  Pts.  Overall
Canton       6-0   19   22-6
Avon          5-1   18   19-8
Stafford      4-2   14   15-8
E. Windsor  3-3  11   14-8-1
Granby       2-4     6   5-16
Suffield       1-5     5   4-18-1
Enfield        0-6     4   1-22
Tolland                 1
Somers                0
Teams earn 2 points for each dual meet win and 1 point for each team they beat at the league tournament.
Canton wins 2002 league championship