GARDINER — The 40th annual Tiger Invitational turned into a runaway for the Cony High School wrestling team Saturday.

All six of the wrestlers the Rams put into the championship finals won, giving Cony 170 points to 102 for runner-up Gardiner. Westbrook, Erskine and Portland rounded out the top five in the 10-team tournament in which Monmouth Academy senior Stewart Buzzell was named outstanding wrestler.

The Rams have several seniors, a lot of depth and two valuable transfers so Cony coach Shawn Totman wasn’t completely surprised his team won, more in how handily it won.

“We had our two best practices on Thursday and Friday this week,” Totman said. “You’re going to compete like you practice and they turned it up a notch on Thursday and Friday. I felt good about coming in here, but I didn’t think we were going to do quite as well as we did.”

Cony’s Tre and Zeko Caudill, brothers who transferred from Caribou last spring, each won by pin, Tre stopping Gardiner’s Cameron Bell in the 132-pound division, and Zeko pinning Mt. Blue’s Danny Reed at 138. Chris Paradis decisioned Morse’s Hunter Reed, 7-2 at 145, Griffin Richards pinned Jacob Richards of Nokomis at 170, Nic Benner recorded a first period pin at 220 and heavyweight Elias Younes outlasted Mt. Blue’s Will Gunter 6-4 in overtime.

Gardiner picked up wins from Chandler Wieczorek at 113, Peter Del Gallo at 120, and Jake Truman at 182, all via pins.

“With nine guys our team is wrestling good,” Gardiner coach Matt Hanley said. “There’s room for a lot of improvement but it is early in the year.”

Del Gallo, the Tigers’ precocious sophomore, has yet to lose a high school match in Maine. He’s already 8-0 with seven pins, a year after going 50-0 while winning a state and New England championship. Saturday he pinned all three of his opponents but both he and Hanley feel there’s room for improvement.

“Getting my conditioning up and working on my takedowns because that’s one of the things I lacked at New Englands,” Del Gallo said of his early-season goals.

In the finals, Del Gallo twice let Nokomis’ Kolin Fraser escape so he could take him down again. He didn’t pin Fraser until the third period and Hanley would like to see him put opponents away early when possible.

“His summer wrestling helped,” Hanley said of Del Gallo. “But he’s still slow. Is he wrestling as good as he did at the end (last year)? No. His moves aren’t quite hitting the right way right now so he’s got room to improve.”

Buzzell, who won the Class C state championship at 145 last year, recored a 17-0 technical fall against Morse’s Andrew Payson in the 145-pound finals.

“I know it’s my last year so I’ve been pushing myself harder in practice,” said Buzzell, who is 10-0 this season. “And honing in my moves.”

Added Monmouth coach Shawn Schultz: “Throughout the summer he’s been working on and off. He’s very solid. He does not make any mistakes.”

Four of Monmouth’s seven wrestlers finished fourth or better. Emily Lavasseur finished second at 113 while Calvin Thompson was second at 106.

Erskine finished fourth with 97.5 points and although the Eagles didn’t win any titles, they took four third places and three fourths. Nokomis brought just six wrestlers but finished a strong sixth with 85.5 points.

“We wrestled well today,” Nokomis coach Scott Preble said.”We medaled five.”

Unbeaten freshman Christopher Wilson led the Warriors with a 10-5 win against Mt. Blue’s Tyler Sennick at 195 while Jacob Richards (170) and Rusty Wilson (182) each finished second. Mt. Blue captured four seconds — Danny Reed (138), Nick Hickey 160), Sennick (195) and Will Gunter (285) — and a third.

“We made progress,” Mt. Blue coach Scott Jennings said. “But at the same time we are mentally not prepared for our matches. We wait until the last second. I don’t know if it’s our conditioning or what’s going on, but there’s something that’s holding us back.”

Maine Central Institute captured a first when Dylan Dahlbergh decisioned Westbrook’s Max Storm 7-6 in overtime, a third and two fourths. Portland got championship wins from Kidayer Aljubly at 106 and Greg Cassella at 160.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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