As the Feb. 4 conference championship tournament dates rapidly approach, it seems like a good time to check in on the individual leaders on area teams. Individual records have been provided by coaches.

* Cony: Jake Charest (113-pound division) 8-4; Connor Dufour (132) 17-8; Chris Paradis (138) 6-2; Thon Itthipalakorn (145), 16-7; Mikal Federici (170) 16-4; Nic Benner (182) 16-8; Cody Dular (195) 21-1; Steven Morse (285) 19-4

* Erskine: Joe York (126) 16-5, 12 pins; Lucas Donald (132) 16-8, 8 pins; Tyler Azevedo (138) 15-11, 10 pins; Robert Soohey (145) 14-9, 2 pins; Stephen Soohey (152) 11-8, 7 pins; Brenden Henderson (160) 13-7, 9 pins; Ryan Wood (170) 21-3, 15 pins; Cade Ayotte (182) 11-3, 8 pins; Logan DeMerchant (152/160) 9-9, 6 pins

* Gardiner: Danny DelGallo (138) 30-0; Wyatt Thornton(152) 27-5; Zac Abram (160) 24-6; Mitchell Chesley (195) 21-8

* Hall-Dale: Wyatt Rush (138) 18-4

* Madison: Cody Soucier (145), 22-6, 14 pins; Danny Moreshead (152),14-4, 10 pins; Derrin Moreshead (160),17-7, 11 pins; Kyle Foley (170/182), 19-10, 6 pins; Ryan Malcolm (220), 26-1,18 pins

* MCI: Jacob McGowan (285) 20-3; Will Cu (126) 18-12; Trevor Kitchin (152) 15-2; Dylan Dahlbergh (106) 14-8

* Monmouth: James Gam-bino (132) 9-6; Stewart Buzzell (138) 12-5

* Mt. Blue: Tyler Craig (106) 27-0, 20 pins; Khalil Newbill (120) 25-2, 16 pins; Kevin Moore (120) 26-5,14 pins; Nick Hyde (132) 17-5, 7 pins; Drew Blanchet (138) 20-5, 9 pins; Chris Ingram (152) 23-7, 14 pins; Zach Faulkner (160) 24-7, 17 pins; Caleb Farrington (170) 27-2, 15 pins; Raymond Clark (220) 13-11, 7 pins

* Mt. View: Tyler Stevenson (220) 21-6; James Blanchette (106) 17-6; Mark Dolloff (138) 17-10; Roger Flannery (132) 14-11

* Oak Hill: Keith Madore (152160) 11-3, 5 pins

* Skowhegan: John Swett (120) 15-4, 7 pins; Kaleb Brown (138) 28-0, 19 pins; Carter Stevens (145/152) 26 -0, 18 pins; Christian Jackson (160) 26-1, 13 pins; Levi Hayden (182) 20-5, 8 pins; Andrew Pineo (195) 23-2, 10 pins; Zach Witham (220) 22-3, 8 pins

* Winslow: Ryan Mosher (120) 17-7, 7 pins; VJ Tantoco (182) 15-7, 3 pins; Sean Cote (220) 15-14, 11 pins; Aaron Lint (285) 27-7, 19 pins

* * *

You have to look a long way back in the record book to find the last time that an Eastern A team challenged for the state title. The last team to come close was Mt Blue. The Cougars earned a runner-up plaque in 2001 and were coached by Nate Phillips. Phillips, then just 24-years-old, was a two-time state champion during his high school days at Mt. Blue. Phillips had served as an assistant coach for several seasons under Glen Kapiloff and took over the head coaching role when Kapiloff, a National Guardsman, was deployed overseas.

Phillips stayed with the Mt. Blue program for just three seasons before making the decision to pursue his Master’s degree in Divinity at Princeton Seminary. During his time at Mt. Blue, the Cougars won three Eastern Maine titles along with the KVAC title in 2001.

Currently, Phillips is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and serves at Red Clay Creek Church in Wilmington, Del. He lives in Wilmington with his wife and two daughters. He is also on schedule to receive a doctorate from Columbia Theological Seminary in May.

“Things are busy, but I still stay in the sport,” Phillips said. “I’ve been an assistant at Salesianum School in Wilmington for six years. The level of wrestling is phenomenal. I follow Mt. Blue wrestling from a distance and I hear they have a good team this year and I wish them the absolute best. Go Cougars.”

* * *

TJ Vallee was one of Maine’s most outstanding wrestlers his senior year at Cony High School. Vallee won a state title and placed third at the New England Championships. Now a sophomore at Bridgewater State University, Vallee is continuing his winning ways this season for the Bears.

Vallee currently owns a 17-1 record and is ranked No. 1 in the New England Wrestling Association standings in the 197-pound weight class. Vallee’s sole loss was in the championship finals at Messiah College’s Petrofes Invitational Tournament in December. The loss came against Cortland State’s (N.Y.) Jared Myhrberg, who is currently No. 3 in the Division III national rankings.

Vallee, the only Mainer on the squad, enjoys the team’s esprit de corps.

“I love Bridgewater,” Vallee said. “The team is really close-knit and we are all each other’s support. I have great wrestlers around me to train with everyday at practice. That makes me that much better.”

There is still a lot of wrestling left in the season, including a trip to Boston University to face Division I Duke University and the host Terriers on Jan. 28. The NEWA Championships will be held at Wesleyan University on Feb. 25-26. Those individuals who win their weight classes at the NEWA’s will advance to the Division III National Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin on March 10-11.


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