Mt. Blue’s Khalil Newbill came within a second of winning the 120-pound weight class at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships Saturday.
Newbill led 2-0 in his championship finals match against Belfast’s Dagan Berenyi late in the third period. Bereni managed to shake free of Newbill’s ride just as time expired to get a two-point reversal and send the match into overtime. Berenyi scored a takedown with an ankle pick early in the overtime period to win the match.
“It was a great match,” Mt. Blue coach Bob O’Connor. “It could have gone either way.”
Newbill, a four-year starter for the Cougars, has a career record of 172-21, with 102 pins, according to O’Connor.
“I controlled the pace for most of the match, but in the last few seconds, I got sloppy and that is what cost me the chance of being the KVAC champion,” Newbill said. “In high-level matches one mistake can be the difference between winning or losing, and I learned that the hard way.”
Still, Newbill is taking the loss in stride and maintains a positive outlook on the experience.
“High-level matches are great preparation for regionals and states because they only make you better,” he said. “No matter the outcome you learn something from every match.”
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Senior twin brothers Robert and Stephen Soohey have been solid performers this season for Erskine Academy. Each has won more than 20 matches and Robert placed fourth at the KVAC tournament.
But the brothers really shine in the classroom. Robert is currently ranked No. 1 in his class, while Stephen is ninth. Stephen is the president of Erskine’s National Honor Society while Robert is the vice-president.
Both are planning to attend college with the intent of pursuing a pre-med degree. They are currently undecided about which college they will attend. Robert and Stephen live in Whitefield with their parents, Robert and Theresa.
Erskine coach Patrick Vigue is pleased with what the Soohey brothers bring to his wrestling program.
“They both bring the same work ethic to the mat that they use in their classwork,” Vigue said.
Other area wrestlers in National Honor Society include Cony High School’s Nic Benner and Joe Wathen, Mt. Blue’s Drew Blanchet and Travis Stuard and Skowhegan’s Carter Stevens.
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Area wrestlers won three individual championships at the Mid-State League Tournament. Monmouth Academy’s James Gambino beat Fryeburg’s Hunter Day by an 8-4 decision to win the 138-pound class, while teammate Stewart Buzzell edged Jesse Hutchinson 2-1 to win at 145.
Madison’s Ryan Malcolm (285) beat Dirigo’s Cliff Boynton 3-1 in overtime to win his weight class. It was Malcolm’s fifth tournament championship of the season.
“Ryan’s confidence has been building all year,” Madison coach Scot Padelford said. “You could see his confidence come through this weekend as he wrestled two close matches, beating Mark Suprenant (Wells) 2-1 and then Boynton in the finals.”
Jen Allen (126), Derrin Moreshead (160), Matt McLaughlin (170) and Danny Moreshead (182) each placed fourth for the Bulldogs.
Monmouth’s Ryan Scott was third at 126 pounds while Angus Koller (152) placed fourth.
Oak Hill High School’s Carter Labrecque placed fourth at 120 pounds.
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Regional tournaments in Class A, B, and C will be held at six locations around the state on Saturday. The top four place winners in each weight class will advance to the State Championships the following Saturday.
Skowhegan Area High School will host the Eastern A tournament. Cony, Mt. Blue, Erskine, and Nokomis will be part of a 10-team field at that event.
Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield hosts the Eastern B tournament. Gardiner and Oak Hill travel to Wells High School to compete in the Western B tournament. Madison, Monmouth Academy, Winslow and Mt. View will be at Bucksport High School for the Western C tournament.
All events are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.