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This page was last updated on: August 14, 2002
Copyright 2002, Collinsville Publishing Company
Falcons win five of six over the holidays
By Rick Dubiel
AVON, Jan. 1, 2001 -- Over the holidays, the Avon High wrestling team won five of their six matches, only falling a single point from a sweep in a one-point loss to Nonnewaug.
Avon started off the holiday by hosting a five-team meet on Dec. 22 and immediately drew a tough assignment by facing Nonnewaug. The Falcons jumped out to an early 20-6 lead with individual victories from Brian Dubiel, Seby Lora, Reed Timme and Rob Tolk.
However, Nonnewaug bounced back with four wins of their own to take a 21-20 lead. Pins from Joe Friedhoff and Brendan Roche gave the host Falcons a 32-27 lead but after a Chief pin, Eric Goldstein helped Avon regain a slight 38-33 advantage. But Nonnewaug snapped a three-match losing streak to the Falcons with a pin in the final match to earn the 39-38 win.
Avon learned the hard lesson that opponents often vary in strength from year to year. Avon extracted revenge on their next three opponents wins over Farmington, Suffield and Granby.
Although not officially scheduled, Farmington showed up uninvited on Avon's doorstep and probably regretted it after a 51-27 defeat. To their credit, Farmington seems significantly improved and the match went back and forth during the first half of the order.
Avon's Brian Dubiel pinned his man in 50 seconds and Rob Tolk contributed a critical pin to give Avon an 18-12 lead. Farmington briefly jumped ahead 27-24, but then Avon wrestlers swept the remaining five individual matches to finish off the Indians, 51-27. Falcon rookies' Danny Jamieson and Teme Awonuga contributed victories.
Avon continued their winning streak by rolling over NCCC opponents Suffield and Granby, by scores of 80-3 and 66-6, respectively. Against Suffield, John LaMontagne had a 26 second pin, while teammate Teme Awonuga followed with a 17 second pin. Avon's Danny Jamieson added a 25 second pin.
The Falcons (9-3) added two more victories on Dec. 29 with wins over Gilbert (59-24) and Wolcott Tech (64-12). The three losses for Avon have come by a total of merely nine points.
2001-02 dual meet
Record: 19-8, 5-1 NCCC
Avon 38, E. Hartford 34
Avon 51, E. Windsor 21
Avon 51, Hall 9
St. Bernard 37, Avon 24
Avon 37, Montville 36
Derby 50, Avon 25
Avon 57, Portland 22
Avon 63, Enfield 15
Avon 60, Wind. Tech 24
Avon 39, New London 36
Avon 52, Terryville 30
Simsbury 39, Avon 37
Rocky Hill 39, Avon 37
Canton 39, Avon 36
Avon 57, Bacon Acad. 12
Avon 64, Wolcott Tech 12
Avon 59, Gilbert 24
Nonnewaug 39, Avon 38
Avon 51, Farmington 30
Avon 80, Suffield 3
Avon 72, granby 6
Avon 42, Seymour 25
Avon 54, So. Windsor 21
Rockville 36, Avon 35
Avon 48, Stafford 30
2nd Berlin Invitational
Bris. Central 42, Avon 30
Falcons back on winning track
By Rick Dubiel
AVON, January 17, 2002 -- After suffering a narrow two-point loss to Simsbury on January 9 (39-37), the Avon High wrestling team adopted a new scrappy attitude, which it successfully used to sweep its past four matches.
Armed with a new resolve not to let any more close ones get away, the Falcons took to the road on January 12, for matches against New London, Windham Tech, and Terryville. Avon drew the tough New London team as its first match.
Avon had a score to settle with the Whalers left over from last year, when New London barely edged out Avon to claim third place in the Class S tournament. Avon sophomore Rob Tolk has kicked it up a notch this year by winning the majority of his matches by pins this year, which provides more team points for Avon, to compensate a gap in the Falcon lineup this year.
Against New London, Avon's Adam Freilich got a critical pin with 3 seconds left in the second period and Joe Friedhoff got a critical pin as well. Avon trailed New London, 36-30 with two matches left. Junior Ryan Walsh stepped to the mat at the 215 weight class. He wrestled carefully and conservatively to earn a decision and keep an Avon victory with reach at 36-33.
For the previous two years, several team matches have come down to Brian Dubiel, and he didn't disappoint this year, by securing the close 39-36 victory over the Whalers with a first period pin.
Against Windham Tech, Rob Tolk pinned his man with 1:27 left on the clock. Adam Frielich lept out to a substantial lead, then pinned in the second. Ryan Endres contributed a huge win by pin, to finally bring a trailing Avon even at 24-24. Avon never looked back, as senior Brendan Roche pinned in the third, after accumulating a 7-0 lead at the end of two periods. Danny Jamieson got a huge first period pin with 0:23 left to extend Avon's lead to 42-24. Senior Eric Goldstein shattered the mat speed record with an incredible 11 second pin. Avon ended up beating Windham Tech, 60-24.
Against an improved Terryville team, Avon's Seby Lora dominated his opponent , and culminated with a pin using a textbook Saturday Night Special move. Reed Timme won, and Rob Tolk, Adam Frielich, and Joe Friedhoff all pinned their opponents. Eric Goldstein secured yet another first period pin.
On January 14, Avon played host to Enfield earning a definitive 63-15 victory. Despite a successful youth wrestling program, Enfield wrestling has fallen upon tougher times this year, and suffers from at least four vacant weight classes. The Falcons improved to 14-6 overall and 4-1 in the league.
Avon closes out season with win, rallies past
By Rick Dubiel
EAST HARTFORD, Feb. 5, 2002 Not intimidated by facing a larger Class LL opponent, the Avon High wrestling team finished the 2001-02 regular season with a flourish with a 38-34 victory over host East Hartford.
Avon (19-8, 5-1 NCCC) erased a nine-point deficit to earn the victory. The evening got off a rough start as only one of Avon's junior varsity wrestlers came away with a win against the skilled, well-coached East Hartford wrestlers.
East Hartford took a quick 6-0 lead in the varsity match but Avon's Rob Tolk earned a win to cut the lead to one with a 17-2 victory. Adam Frielich gave Avon a brief 11-6 lead with a first period pin (1:57). But Avon dropped the next five out of six matches as the Hornets buzzed to a nine point lead, 28-17. Avon's Ryan Endres gave a demonstration of six minutes of toughness, by putting up a grudging defense, and refusing to be pinned in a losing effort.
Undaunted by the deficit, Avon's legendary heavies took to the mat, and started chiseling away at the East Hartford lead. Eric Goldstien paved the way for a dramatic comeback with a first period pin, cutting the Hornet lead to five, 28-23
Avon's Ryan Walsh outscored his opponent 14-4, and Avon was now breathing down the neck of East Hartford, 28-27. Brian Dubiel continued Avon's relentless pursuit of victory by accomplishing a first period pin in only 16 seconds to give Avon a 33-28 lead with two individual matches to go.
Avon's Seby Lora took the team match into his own capable hands, wrestling with tremendous intensity and racking up a commanding 15 point lead for a technical fall victory to give Avon 5 team points and ice the victory.
The Falcons have come a long way this season. After dropping extremely close matches to Bristol Central, Rockville, Nonnewaug, Simsbury, Canton, and Rocky Hill early in the season, Avon took the lesson to heart and adopted a fighting attitude, and closed out the regular season by winning close matches against Montville, New London, and most recently East Hartford.
Avon wrestling finished the regular season with a 19-8 record and now looks ahead to the NCCC tournament, Class S championships and State Open.
Avon slips past Montville, 37-36;
wrestles well in loss to No. 3 Derby
By Rick Dubiel
AVON, Jan. 19, 2002 -- The Avon High wrestling team continued to show its heart this weekend in a four-team meet with No. 3 Derby, Montville and Portland.
Avon knew its first opponent, Montville, would be no easy match. The Indians were ranked in the top 10 of the state coaches poll earlier in the season and had narrowly beaten Canton earlier this season. Since Canton squeaked by Avon, the Falcons knew it would be a difficult match.
At the lighter weights, Avon's Rob Tolk won, and Adam Friedlich nailed a first period pin against his opponent to tie the score at 15-15. Montville jumped ahead 27-15 during the next two matches, until Joe Friedhoff took the mat. Friedhoff found himself trailing 10-1, but was not deterred, and finally turned the tables on his formidable opponent, pinning him for a major upset and a crucial victory for the Falcons.
Brendan Roche followed suit with a major decision, keeping Avon breathing down Montville's neck, cutting the lead to two, 27-25. After Montville extended its lead to eight, Avon's Eric Goldstien (189) scored a huge third period pin, to keep Avon in the hunt, 33-31. Going into the final heavyweight class, Avon found itself down by five, 36-31.
A pin was needed to win the match. Avon was fairly confident, having last year's Class S champion Brian Dubiel to call upon, but the Montville opponent looked physically equal to the task. Dubeil took down his opponent, but was reversed upon and found himself on his back. Somehow Dubiel dug deep, knowing the team victory was on the line, and not only dug himself out from down under, but promptly pinned his opponent to secure a close match for Avon a second time, at a score of 37-36.
Avon went up against Derby next. No. 3 Derby has 10 mature seniors on its team. Avon lost 50-24 but several Falcon wrestlers tested their mettle against Derby, and came up on the winning end. Freshman Joel Hava secured an impressive pin. One of the major match-ups of the day was sophomore Avon's Rob Tolk vs. last year's state champion from Derby with Tolk earning an impressive victory. Teammate Brendan Roche secured a 9-3 victory while Eric Goldstein got his traditional first period pin. In a re-match of last year's Class S final, Dubiel went against Graham. Dubiel demonstrated that last year's victory was no fluke, and escaped almost at will on Graham, took him down, and got him over on his back, before ending the match with a third period pin.
Avon defeated Portland 57-22 and happily but quickly left for home due to the snowy conditions developing outside.
Falcons finish strong in NCCC, Class S
By Rick Dubiel
The Avon High wrestling team revealed their new identity as a tournament team in the last two weeks of the season. First, Avon staged a dramatic come-from-behind victory to overtake Canton in the NCCC tournament, held on February 9.
Avon was trailing Canton by ten points going into the final round. Both Avon and Canton had nearly equal numbers of wrestlers make it to the finals. But the Avon wrestlers prevailed in six out of seven finals matches, while Canton only won two out of eight. Avon wrenched the lead out of Canton's grasp at the very end, where Avon swept the last three matches in head-to-head competition with Canton.
At the Class S Championship, held on February 15-16, Avon again showed their new tournament mettle by taking third place, behind perennial powerhouse Derby and scrappy New London. Again, Avon wrestlers dug deep, and provided a dramatic finish by staving off St. Bernard's in a close horse race for third place. Avon had a narrow four-point lead over St. Bernards going into the finals, thanks to an excellent showing by Joe Friedhoff, Brendan Roche, Adam Friedlich, and Ryan Walsh in the final consolations.
Avon had placed three wrestlers in the finals, compared to St Bernard's two. Rob Tolk increased Avon's lead, by pinning his Montville opponent. However, St Bernards kept things interesting, by defeating Avon co-captain Eric Goldstein in a very closely fought, head-to-head competition. Avon's Brian Dubiel added to the Avon lead, by pinning Derby's Chris Graham in the finals, and earned himself a place in the Avon record books as one of only five wrestlers in AHS history to win two or more Class S titles. His coach, Johnny McLaughlin, also shares in that distinction. Avon also extracted some revenge by placing higher than Nonnewaug, Canton, Saint Bernards, and Rocky Hill; which it had lost close matches to during the regular season.
The Avon wrestling program continues to improve each year. They improved from fourth to third place in Class S. They also increased from one Class S champion last year, to two champions this year. They drew ever so close in competition against highly successful, and much larger Simsbury and Bristol Central wrestling programs. They finished the regular season with a 19-8 record. Among other factors, a tougher schedule may have helped forge Avon into a tougher unit this year. However, many other Class S teams have also improved significantly as well.
Looking ahead to next year, Avon is losing the significant contributions of senior co-captains Eric Goldstein, Brian Dubiel, and Brendan Roche, but is also gaining its first group of graduates from the fairly new youth wrestling program, sponsored through the Avon Recreation and Parks Department.