Still Undefeated, London Advances To All-State Semifinals
Tewksbury High wrestler Chris London overcomes the odds and improves to 42-0 at MIAA All-State Meet.
Suffering from a skin rash that could have cost him his opportunity to compete for an All-State championship, London shook off the rust from two weeks of inactivity and won two more matches on the biggest stage he’s ever competed on Friday, advancing to the semi-final round of the MIAA All-State Wrestling championships at Salem High School.
London, who two weeks ago captured the MIAA Division 2 state championship at 170 pounds, was questionable even to participate in this weekend’s all-state meet after being diagnosed with a skin rash that could have resulted in an open wound had London gone through his normal training routine over the past two weeks.
“It’s a common thing in wrestling,” explained Tewksbury High coach Brian Aylward. “It’s a skin condition they pick up along the way. Sometimes it runs its course through the entire team. There’s not much you can do about it other than rest and let it heal.”
The rash was most prevalent on London’s forehead, which meant, according to Aylward, that training and competing could have resulted in open wounds that may have disqualified London from competing for an all-state championship
So at the worst possible time, London was forced to stay away from competitive training in the days leading up to this weekend’s all-state meet, leaving him at a disadvantage against the top 170-pounders Massachusetts high school wrestling has to offer.
It made no difference.
The TMHS senior captain picked up right where he left off two weeks ago in his opening round match, building a 9-2 lead over Billerica’s Ian Fox, and holding on for a 9-6 victory that moved him into the tournament quarterfinals.
In the quarters, London easily out-pointed Wakefield’s Wes Brown, building a 7-0 lead after two periods and coasting home to a 7-1 victory.
The win over Brown raises London’s 2011-2012 record to 42-0, and earns him the right to compete in next weekend’s New England championships, regardless of the results of Saturday’s matches. But more important, London will now face off against the Division 1 state champion, Barnstable’s Will Henson, in tomorrow afternoon’s all-state semi-finals. The winner of that match will wrestle for the all-state 170-pound championship on Saturday evening.
“He looked strong, especially after not being able to train like he would usually train,” said Aylward of London’s performance on Friday. “A lot of kids wouldn’t have even competed. We talk all the time about all the work you put in during the off-season allowing you to battle through the tough spots during the season, and this is a great example of that. It’s the work he did last spring and last summer and during the football season that’s allowed him to fight through these things.”
London will now attempt to become Tewksbury's first all-state champion since Dave Shunamon won the all-state heavyweight championship and the New England championship in 1998.
"The competition here is tough," Ayward said. "When you get to this level there's nobody here who doesn't belong here, so he'll have to come back strong again tomorrow. Hopefully he can fight his way through."
Tewksbury's other all-state qualifier, senior captain Mike Davidian, also performed well in the 160-pound bracket. Davidian lost his opening round match to Aaron Conrad of Brdigewater-Raynham, 11-0, but bounced back to beat King Phillip's Tyler Florio in the consolation quarterfinals. Davidian pinned Florio in the second round, capturing his first-ever all-state victory.
Davidian was then eliminated from the tournament when he lost his next match to Natick's Alexe Restivo-Lage by at 10-5 decision.
"Mike did a great job," Aylward said. "It was great to see him get a win at this level. Every kid who makes it this far comes here with 30-40 wins under their belt. Any win here is a big win."