GARDINER — Both Jacob Booth and Jacob Richards picked up their first tournament championships for Nokomis at Saturday’s Tiger Invitational, and reacted to the milestone in very different ways.

Booth, a freshman, acted as if his title in the 106-pound weight class was pre-ordained. Richards, a senior, celebrated his first as if he’d won a state championship.

Booth and Roberts were two of five Nokomis wrestlers to make the championship round at Gardiner High School’s 41st annual early-season tournament. While all five won, it still wasn’t quite enough for the Warriors to catch Westbrook, which didn’t have a wrestler take home gold but used its depth to eek out the 2.5-point win.

“We had a very good day,” Nokomis coach Scott Preble said. “I’ve got some young, first-year wrestlers I expected a little more out of. But other than that, the boys wrestled about where I expected them to be.”

Josh Brown (113), Christopher Wilson (195) and Jacob Nichols (285) also won their brackets for the Warriors. Erskine got championships from Cameron Grass (120) and Zach Isbell (160). Cony’s Zeko Caudill (145) and Max Storey (220) won their weight classes. Maine Central Institute’s Dylan Dahlbergh won the 132 title.

Richards pinned Gardiner’s Andrew Doody Veilleux at 3:22 of their 182-pound championship match, which he punctuated with a leap into the air and some celebratory fist pumps.

“I just kept moving, kept wrestling and made him make mistakes,” Richards said. “I’ve been wrestling really sloppy lately and been getting beat by kids that I should beat, so this is a pretty big boost to win a tournament.”

“He’ a good, solid wrestler. He’s just been having a little bit of a hard time,” Preble said. “He really showed what he’s capable of today.”

Booth pinned Dylan Trevino of Cony at 2:30 of the 106 final.

“I had to struggle in the beginning to get it, but after a while I was able to tire him out,” said Booth, who has been wrestling for nine years. “I kind of expected (the championship). I’ve had a lot harder matches this year than I’ve had here today.”

Conditioning and discipline often make the difference early in the season. Isbell needed both to outlast Portland’s Clautel Buba, 9-8, in overtime. The senior picked up five points from technical fouls levied at Buba.

“I was happy with my cardio. I think I lasted all three rounds pretty well and kept my strength up,” Isbell said. “I was nervous going into the final. I knew he was real tough. He was very strong. (The fouls) helped me out. It wasn’t really my strength. It was more my discipline that helped me win.”

Caudill was making his 2014 debut after missing the Rams’ first two meets. He needed just 15 seconds to pin Erskine’s Justin Studholme to follow up his championship at 138 in last year’s Invitational.

“It’s really all about explosiveness. I just got in his grill right at the whistle, took him by his arm and got his leg in a single-leg (takedown),” said Caudill, a senior. “Going into the match I was going to let him make the first move, but then my coach (Shawn Totman) said I needed to pin him, and it turned out good.”

Defending champion Cony had a tournament-high six wrestlers claim top three spots — including runners-up Tre Caudill (138) and Elian Younes (285) — and consolation round winner Victor Tapia-Smith (170) to finish third in the team standings with 119 points, Portland (106.5) and Erskine (94) rounded out the top five.

“We just kind of came out flat in that consolation semifinal round where we had a chance to pick up some points, not just wins but some bonus points, and we just weren’t able to do it. I think that ended up costing us in the long run,” Totman said. “But our experienced did what they’re supposed to do. I couldn’t be more proud of Dylan Trevino. He’s only a freshman and only weighs 92 pounds and got in the finals at 106.”

Emily Levasseur of Monmouth (113) and Isaac Taylor of Erskine (126) also reached the final round. Local consolation winners were: Ian Land (106) and Jake Truman (195) of Gardiner, Chris Watrous of MCI (120), Nokomis’ Kolin Fraser (122) and Hunter Glidden (285), and Dempsey Carignan of Maranacook (152). MCI’s ZyAnthony Moss, Erskine’s Michaela Sprague and Gabe Solorzano and Monmouth’s Calvin Thompson and Tyler Lewandowski finished fourth in their weight classes.

Westbrook had only two wrestlers — Max Storm (132) and Kyle Hanson (152) — reach the finals. But consolation round wins by Andrew Rogers, Jon Jaques, Brandon Conley, Brandon Lajoie and Mikeil LePage, and some solid work earlier in the day by the rest of the squad, put the Blue Blazes over the top.

“Today was a total team effort. I think everyone on our team had at least one win,” Westbrook co-coach John Nicholas said. “We got a lot of pins, which really added up point-wise. We’d been talking in practice during the week that we thought we had shot at winning the title as long as everyone came ready to wrestle.”

Randy Whitehouse —621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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