AUGUSTA — Things looked pretty bleak for Cony High School heavyweight Steven Morse in the final match of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference wrestling championships Saturday.

Winslow’s Aaron Lint had just put Morse on his back and was squeezing for a pin. In the next five seconds Morse reversed Lint and scored a dramatic pin of his own that gave the Rams the Class A title by one point over Mt. Blue.

“I definitely felt I was in trouble,” Morse said. “I tried my hardest to get out of it. I was able to pop my head out and he left his head out for me to flip him over and I was able to pin him off that.”

Cony won the Class A title with 136 points to 135 for Mt. Blue. Camden Hills won the Class B championship and overall title with 259 points after placing 10 wrestlers in the championship finals.

Cony and Mt. Blue will battle again next week at the Eastern Maine Class A Regionals. So far, there’s been little to choose between them. The Rams rallied to nip Mt. Blue at the Tiger Invitational in December then lost in a tiebreaker two weeks later at the Cony Duals.

“It’s been that way all year,” Cony Shawn Totman said of his team. “They’re like a lunch-pail kind of group. Good things have started to happen. I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

Totman was named KVAC Class A Coach of the Year while Camden Hills’ Levi Rollins earned the honor in Class B. Brunswick’s Jared Jensen was named outstanding wrestler for the meet in Class A while Gardiner’s Danny Del Gallo took Class B honors.

Del Gallo pinned all four of his opponents to run his season record to 43-0 with 35 pins. After a scoreless first period, he pinned Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown at 2:49 in the 138-pound division.

“I don’t know if he made a mistake,” Del Gallo said. “I was able to capitalize on my position.”

Del Gallo, who won the state title at 135 pounds last season, has yet to be taken to the mat this season.

“He’s got more moves now,” Gardiner coach Matt Hanley said. “We’ve worked on a whole kill series he can do. He’s not just one dimensional. Everyone wants to stop the cradle but he’s got more moves than that.”

Cony led by five points going into the finals but was already short-handed after Cody Dular took a knee to the head in the consolation semifinals in a match he was leading.

“It totally knocked him out,” said Totman, who figured Dular would have scored at least six more points for his team.

Both the Rams and Cougars placed three wrestlers in the finals. Mt. Blue freshman Tyler Craig pinned Camden’s James Archer in the 106-pound division to run his record to 38-0 this season.

“Earlier I felt I hadn’t been wrestling at my best,” Craig said. “I was kind of slow, kind of methodical. I had wrestled the kid before and I knew that I had to turn it on.”

Mt. Blue junior Khalil Newbill won his second KVAC title in a row with a 9-3 decision against Camden’s Connor Winchenbach at 120.

Mt. Blue’s Caleb Farrington dropped down a weight class to 160 and was pinned by Skowhegan’s Christian Jackson in the third period of an action-filled match.

“I saw him wrestle at one of our home meets and I’ve always had my eye on him because he’s a good wrestler,” Jackson said. “Going in I knew it was going to be a close match. I’ve been waiting for it all day.”

The win put Jackson at 38-1 this season. The junior’s only loss was to Westbrook’s Graham Strondak, one that he avenged last week.

“We didn’t live up to expectations,” Mt. Blue coach Bob O’Connor said. “We had a lot of guys who didn’t win matches they were supposed to win.”

Cony placed Thon Itthipalakorn, Mikal Federici and Morse into the finals. Itthipalakorn lost 7-0 to Jensen at 152 while Federici was decisioned 8-6 by Camden’s Ryan Graffam, who he had recently beaten. That left it up to Morse who needed a pin for a team victory.

“I told him he didn’t have to get knocked on his back to get fired up and wrestle,” Totman joked. “That kid’s given him a lot of trouble all year, so it was nice, really nice.”

Skowhegan finished third among Class A teams and fourth overall with 103.5 points. In addition to Jackson’s win, John Sweet won by technical fall at 113 and Levi Hayden placed second at 182. The Indians also got a fourth-place finish from Andrew Pineo at 195. Cony got third-place finishes from Jake Charest at 113 and Chris Paradis at 145 while Connor Dufour placed fourth at 132.

In addition to Lint’s second at 285, Winslow’s VJ Tantoco picked up a third at 170. Erskine got fourth-place finishes from Robert Soohey (145) and Cade Ayotte (182) while Gardiner’s Wyatt Thornton took third place at 152. Nokomis got third-place finishes from Zack McFarlin (182) and Jacob Nichols (285) and fourth from Robbie Hamburger at 106. Mt. View’s Tyler Stevenson won the consolation finals at 220.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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