If last week’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference tournament was any indicator, this weekend’s regional wrestling championships will feature strong competition from area teams.
Skowhegan walked away with its second consecutive KVAC title, totaling 197 points, 65.5 points higher than second place Camden Hills, which had 131.5 points. Cony followed in third place with 120 points.
Heading into the Eastern Class A regionals, the Indians will be the heavy favorite, though the Rams have the talent for a second-place finish and the ability to pressure Skowhegan for first (Camden Hills wrestles in Eastern B).
Six Skowhegan wrestlers won titles last weekend: Cody Craig (106 pounds), Tyler Craig (120), Luke Bolster (132), Kameron Doucette (145), Kaleb Brown (152) and Logan Stevens (160). Cooper Holland (113) and Julian Sirois (138) had second-place finishes. Brown, who pinned Mt. Ararat’s Robert Hetherman in the first period of the championship final, was named the KVAC Class A Wrestler of the Year at the tournament.
None of the Indians’ success at the tournament was a surprise to co-coach Tenney Noyes, who has said all season the team has wrestled to his expectations.
“The boys did a great job,” Noyes said. “It’s what I expected out of them. I see what they put in for work day in and day out. They’ll be able to put it all together and wrestle just like they do in the practice room.”
Cony finished with two champions, Zeko Caudill (138) and Nic Benner (220). Griffin Richards (170) finished second, while Chris Paradis (152) and Jake Fraser (195) each finished third.
“For the most part, I thought the kids wrestled tough all day (during the KVACs),” Cony coach Shawn Totman said after the tournament. “Really the KVACs are a tuneup for the regional meet and I think we’re ready.”
Mt. Ararat, the host of the Eastern A tournament, will also be in the championship hunt. The Eagles had two second-place finishers at the KVACs (Hetherman and Brandon Jusseaume at 182) and finished in sixth place with 78 points.
Mt. Blue and Nokomis are two teams that can also challenge at the tournament. The Cougars had two wrestlers with top-four finishes last weeked, with Nick Hickey (160) fininshing second and J.T. Williams (220) finishing third. The Warriors boasted a first-place finisher in Rusty Wilson (182) and a second-place finisher in Christopher Wilson (195). Jonathan Crocker finished in fourth place at 132 pounds for the Warriors.
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Winslow gets the home advantage on Saturday for the Western Class B tournament.
The Black Raiders are the host school, a positive for a team that had a good showing at the KVAC tournament. Winslow finished in seventh place with 71 points. Nat Beckwith (220) had a second-place finish and Dillon Pelletier (126) finished third.
Leading Winslow is 285-pound KVAC champion Aaron Lint. A senior, Lint, who is undefeated this season, is a two-time state champion, well on his way to capturing his third. Lint was named the KVAC Class B Wrestler of the Year at the KVAC tournament.
“He’s just a big strong kid,” Winslow coach Terry Devereaux said of Lint earlier this season. “He’s only 5 foot 7, but he’s a full 285 (pounds). I haven’t seen anybody yet that equals his strength level. He’s also pretty quick. He moves pretty well on his feet. He’s very compact and almost impossible to take down.”
The Black Raiders will have stiff competition. Mountain Valley resides at the top of the standings, followed by Fryeburg and southern Maine wrestling staples York and Wells.
Erskine is another Western B team that could make noise. The Eagles had six wrestlers at the end of the regular season with 20 or more wins. Joe York (138) and Tyler Azevedo (170) each had a third-place finish a the KVAC tournament while Zach Isbell finished fourth at 160 pounds.
Gardiner has had its share of struggles this year due to numbers, but the Tigers still have Peter Del Gallo, one of the top wrestlers in the state. Del Gallo won the 113-pound division, beating Skowhegan’s Cooper Holland.
Rounding out the Western B teams is Mt. View. The Mustangs had four wrestlers with top-four finishes last weekend: Chris Cole (second at 285), James Blanchette (fourth at 126), Anthony Barnard (fourth at 145) and Job Mesaric (fourth at 220). Mt. View caught fire near the end of the season but entered the KVACs with multiple members of the team battling the flu. The Mustangs should be in better shape to contend Saturday.
In Eastern B, Maine Central Institute will be slugging it out with some tough competition. The Huskies have one of the top wrestlers in the area in Dylan Dahlberg, who finished second at 126 pounds at the KVACs, losing by just one point (5-4) to Jon Hankey of Oxford Hills. MCI will have to take on wrestlers from Camden Hills, who finished second behind Skowhegan, and tournament host Belfast, which finished in fourth place. Included in the tournament is Ellsworth, who ran away with the Pine Valley Conference championship last weekend. The Eagles had 238 team points, 92 more points than second-place finisher Foxcroft.
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Two other awards given out last weekend at the KVACs were the Class A and Class B Coach of the Year awards. Tenney Noyes and Brooks Thompson of Skowhegan were given the Class A award, while Mt. View’s Hamilton Richards won the award in Class B.
Both Richards and Noyes are members of the Maine National Guard, the only two head coaches in the KVAC who share that same fact.
“I definitely see a correlation between the way we train our wrestlers & the values we try to instill in them and the experiences and training we have received from the Army National Guard,” Richards said.
Dave Dyer — 621-5639