Hall-Dale senior Wyatt Rush won his first individual tournament title at the Tiger Invitational. Rush, an independent for Hall-Dale who practices and travels to competitions with Gardiner, had two pins and a decision win to claim the 160-pound title.
Rush is the only Hall-Dale student practicing with Gardiner.
“I got involved because Daniel (Del Gallo) and I have been friends since we were really young,” Rush said. “We were playing on the same indoor soccer team in eighth grade, and he kept trying to get me to wrestle. So I went to watch a few times and I decided I would try it.”
Gardiner coach Matt Hanley is happy to have Rush in the practice room.
“He’s a great kid and has been Dan Del Gallo’s primary practice partner all through their high school years,” Hanley said.
Rush lives only a mile from Gardiner Area High School, Hanley said.
“The family’s dog house is actually on land inside the Gardiner school district. I keep telling Wyatt if he would just move into the dog house, he could go to Gardiner and score points for our team,” Hanley said with a laugh.
Del Gallo is also happy to have Rush in the practice room.
“I consider Wyatt as much a part of our team as anyone else,” Del Gallo said. “He is a hard worker. He is a leader in the wrestling room and a vital part of our team, even though his points don’t count for us. Together we have grown as wrestlers over the years and continually make each other better.”
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Madison sophomore Cody Soucier not only won the 152-pound class at Saturday’s McDonald’s-Mountain Valley Invitational Tournament but also was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler.
Soucier pinned two preliminary round opponents to advance to the finals against Foxcroft’s two-time Class C state champion Wesley Stinson. Soucier rallied back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period by scoring a takedown and two back points using a front-headlock, according to coach Scot Padelford. The final score was 6-4.
“Cody wrestled a perfect match,” Padelford said. “He executed everything just how we discussed all week. Wesley is very good on top so we did not want to be on bottom. We felt confident that Cody could beat him on his feet.”
Senior teammate Ryan Malcolm placed fourth in the 285-pound class.
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Winslow’s Aaron Lint has continued his winning ways so far this season. Lint won the Class C 285-pound class last season and is undefeated this season.
Lint is 7-0 and has yet to be scored on, according to coach Kevin Fredette. On Saturday, Lint won the McDonald’s-Mountain Valley Invitational title, scoring first-round pins in each of his three matches.
The stocky heavyweight, who was also a stalwart on the defensive line for the Western C championship football team, has a simple approach to his matches.
“My strategy when I go out onto the mat, is to wrestle my match,” Lint said. “No matter who it is, where they’re from or what their record is, I just go out and do anything possible to win.”
Lint also won the preseason Westlake Invitational.
Winslow’s Dillon Pelletier (120) also advanced to the championship finals, finishing in second place.
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Twelve teams will compete Saturday at Cony High School in the 2012 Cony Duals Tournament. Noble, Brewer, Erskine, Mt. Blue, Morse, Gardiner, Winslow, Madison, Mt Ararat, Oxford Hills and Skowhegan will join the host Rams in dual meet action scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
“It will be an exciting tournament with many of the local area’s best wrestling teams in action, and adding a perennial powerhouse in Noble will only add to the quality of the field,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said.
In this dual meet tournament, the teams are divided into three pools of four teams each. Each team wrestles the other teams in the pool. The teams are then ranked based on the results of the pool competition and wrestle in a championship round against the equivalent ranked teams in the other pools.
Success at a dual meet tournament favors team depth over individual star power. Totman considers perennial Western A power Noble the favorite to win the tournament. Totman also sees Skowhegan, Oxford Hills, Mt. Blue and Erskine as potential finalists in the tournament.