Local wrestlers ready to hit the mat

The winter sports season is in full gear. Most wrestling teams hit the mats for the first time on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and they will all be in action this week. The area boasts some strong wrestlers to return this year, highlighted by all-state wrestler Jimmy Murphy from Avon.

Avon

Coach John McLaughlin is only four wins from 300 overall in his illustrious coaching career. McLaughlin is in his 15th season as the Avon head coach, and as usual he will have one of the top teams in the NCCC. The Falcons have dominated the NCCC since joining, and behind some strong forces, his team should be right in the thick of things again this season.

The Falcons will be led by senior Jimmy Murphy, who at 145 last season won the Class M title and finished 2nd in the State Open. Murphy may wrestle up, because he has come in at 170 lbs this season. Puck Quijano will also return at 125 lbs., as he was an all-conference wrestler last season. The Falcons will also look for Nick Briere, and Nick Zacchio to earn some points for them along the way.

McLaughlin believes that his team is an extremely hard working group, and will be in the mix for the league title again.

Canton

The Warriors are looking to make their mark as one of the top teams in the NCCC, as they hope to compete for the league title. Head coach Josh Kaplan hopes that this is the year that the team rises to the top, as they return a strong group that only graduated three wrestlers.

Kaplan’s group of seniors include Joe Joslin at 138, Patrick Lawler at 160, Dylan Houle, who finished 6th in the Class S Tournament last year, at 170, Devin Glasson at 195, Glenn Komer at 220, and Skylar Lang at 220, who went 29-4 last season.

Simsbury

The Trojans had an outstanding 22-1 season last year under Head Coach Ernie Goodwin. They graduated eight starters from last season, but Goodwin still expects the team to compete for the league title.

Brad Helmkamp looks to build on a great junior season, where he went 31-8 and finished 2nd in the Class LL Tournament, and was named all-conference at 220. If he gets 34 wins this season, he will claim his place in history as a top 10 win leader all time at SHS.

Jake Feldman, who went 34-8 and finished 3rd in the Class LL Tournament, will return for his junior year at 195. Keith Penney, 32-4 last season, and Vinny Palermo also will pace the Trojans. Both wrestlers were all league last year.

Farmington

Coach Eric Misko has a tough task of building off an undefeated season, but his team is up for the challenge. The Indians finished a perfect 32-0 last season, and many of his strongest wrestlers return to the team.

Ryan Rigney – Class L Champion, Harry Pacheco (38-1 last season), Drew Dahlberg (placed in Class L’s), and Dovydas Simanskis (also placed in Class L’s), all return to a very deep and talented senior class.

“The team has incredible work ethic and great leadership from the captains,” said Misko.

“We are working to separate some weights and get our athletes to fill each weight class. We have great numbers (50),” Misko said. “Our senior leadership should help greatly. I am very pleased with our talented returners.”

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