Six Skowhegan wrestlers took home medals at the Class A state championships as the Indians finished third. Marshwood easily defended its state title, scoring 201 points, while Massabesic was second with 113. Skowhegan finished with 105 points.
Tyler Craig (113) and Andrew Pineo (195) won state titles for the Indians. Craig, a sophomore, won his second consecutive title, beating Noble’s Bill Gagner, 6-0. Pineo, a senior, won his first state crown in similar fashion, shutting out Windham’s Christian Coons 5-0.
Kaleb Brown (138) and Mikal Federici (170) placed second, Julian Sirois (120) third, and Levi Hayden (182) finished in fourth place.
“I feel the team performed very well at the state tourney,” Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes said. “Every one of our wrestlers went out there and left it all on the mat. Not every match went our way, there were a handful of tough one point or two point losses that came right down to the (final) whistle, but that’s what happens at states.”
Federici (170) has quietly flown under the radar most of the season. The junior finished second to Brunswick’s Jared Jensen in both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Eastern A regionals tournaments. He entered the state tournament on the same side of the bracket as Western regional champion Evan Fecko of Kennebunk. Fecko placed second at the state meet last season after beating Federici by an 18-8 major decision in the semifinals.
The two met again in the semifinals, but the outcome was dramatically different. Federici scored the first takedown with an ankle pick and rolled to an 8-3 win.
“The whole two weeks after regionals, that one match was the only thing I could think about,” Federici said. “I was very confident going into the match, mainly because of my work with Coach Noyes and teammate Andrew Pineo, who have very similar body types as Evan. I would work constantly on my setups and adapt to wrestling someone with a longer frame, which proved to be very helpful in the neutral game throughout the match.”
Federici spent a lot of time on the mat during the spring and summer months, competing in tournaments such as the USAW Northeast Regionals in Pennsylvania and also participating in the Maine-Nebraska Exchange. He says he wrestled in up to 12 tournaments over that time.
He said that experience is the reason for his improvement.
“I feel the offseason competition was the biggest help in my confidence,” he said. “I went into every match with the mindset that no one could beat me.”
Although Federici did lose some matches during the season, including the state championship to Jensen, now a three-time champion, he finished the year with 40 wins, two tournament championships and a state runner-up medal.
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A familiar foe stood between Aaron Lint and his second consecutive state title. The Winslow heavyweight faced Madison’s Ryan Malcolm in the 285-pound championship at the Class C meet. The two met four times during the season, with Malcolm winning each contest.
Lint scored an escape 30 seconds into the third period to take a 3-2 lead.
“I knew right then I only had a minute and a half to keep wrestling,” Lint said. “I pushed into him and kept being aggressive. He got (called again) for stalling which gave me another two points.”
The additional points gave Lint a 5-2 lead and cemented the win.
A difference in strategy was a major part of the win according to Winslow coach Kevin Fredette.
“Aaron was much more aggressive (in this match) and kept him backing up and on the defensive,” Fredette said.
Madison coach Scot Padelford knew the match could go either way, despite Malcolm’s season-long success against Lint.
“It’s tough to beat a guy five times, especially a defending state champ,” Padelford said. “Every previous match was a close one. Aaron seemed to be able to maintain better position on his feet than Ryan and didn’t make any mistakes. That made the difference in the match.”
Lint ended the season with a 40-4 record; his only losses were to Malcolm.
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Gardiner placed fifth at the Class B state championship meet. The Tigers had two individual state champions in Peter (106) and Daniel (138) Del Gallo and also had two third-place finishers in Mitchell Chesley (195) and Andrew Doody-Veillieux (220).
“I felt pretty certain how Peter and Daniel would do” Gardiner coach Matt Hanley, “but Mitchell and Andrew’s performance was a pleasant surprise.”
Both Del Gallo brothers pinned their way through the tournament, scoring 24 points each (the most possible) for Gardiner.
Both Chesley and Doody-Veillieux scored two pins and a win by decision. Chesley pinned Fryeburg’s Trevor Henschel in the consolation finals.
“He lost to Henschel in the regional tournament,” Hanley said, “so to get that pin was a great way to end the day.”
Doody-Veillieux, a sophomore who came out this season after not wrestling since seventh grade, has improved steadily, according to Hanley.
“He’s a big, rugged kid,” Hanley said. “He’s still learning how to wrestle and got better every week of the season. I see a bright future for him.”
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Monmouth Academy’s Stewart Buzzell reversed the outcome of his Western C regional finals match and won a state title. Buzzell, a junior, had lost to Dirigo’s Jesse Hutchinson by a 6-5 score at the regionals. This time, Buzzell scored two takedowns with double leg attacks and came away with a 9-5 victory.
“Stew was able to set up his shots better in this match,” Monmouth assistant coach Kyle Fox said. “This allowed him to score two takedowns which he hadn’t been able to do at regionals. He was also able to catch Jesse out of position in a few scramble situations which gave him an extra set of back points.”