The Tiger Invitational, the longest running regular season tournament in state history, turns 42 on Saturday.

“John Smith (founding coach of the Gardiner program) started this tournament as a way to get a couple matches in before Christmas,” said Gardiner coach Matt Hanley. “The first year there were only four teams invited.”

The tournament has grown considerably in size over the years — Saturday’s field will be comprised of 13 teams.

“It’s a special tournament for me,” Hanley added. “I’ve had the chance to compete in it when I was in high school and I’ve had the chance to coach in it.”

Peter Del Gallo is also looking forward to the event. The Gardiner senior has won the tournament twice but missed competing in it last year because of injury.

“It will be the final time I get to represent Gardiner wrestling at this tournament,” said Del Gallo.

Hanley said the team competition is up for grabs.

“I don’t see any real strong favorite to win this year,” he said. “I think you will see a lot of faces from different teams in the championship finals lineup.”

The tournament participants also include the following: Cony, Erskine, Maine Central Institute, Morse, Mt. Blue, Nokomis, Monmouth, Portland, Westbrook, Kennebunk, York, and Sanford.

Westbrook won the team title last year while Nokomis finished a close second. Nokomis’ Jacob Booth, Josh Brown and Christopher Wilson return to defend individual titles won last season. Cony’s Max Storey is also a returning champion.

Wrestling is expected to begin at approximately 9:45 a.m.

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Storey (220 pounds) has turned in two impressive performances in early season tournament action for Cony. Storey won the preseason Westlake Tournament and regular season Westbrook Invitational, winning all six of his matches by pin.

“Max is off to a fantastic start to his senior season and has wrestled well in the two tournaments he has won,” said Cony coach Shawn Totman. “This success is all driven by his effort to improve in the offseason. Max is the perfect example of a kid who has made himself into a very good wrestler through hard work and dedication.”

Storey was an Eastern Maine regional champion last season but missed placing at the state meet. He’s determined to do better this season.

“I have done a lot of offseason wrestling and lots of training to help me get to the next level,” he said.

Totman also said Noah Dumas, Devon O’Connor and Logan Benedict are off to strong starts.

“Logan wrestled well and made it to his first championship finals this past weekend,” Totman said. “Noah is showing a lot of promise as a talented freshman lightweight making the finals in his first two high school tournaments. Devon O’Connor has placed second in our first two tournaments and has picked up where he left off last year — where I believe he was one of the most improved wrestlers in our league and region.”

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Skowhegan senior Julian Sirois won his 150th career match to help the Indians easily win the team title at the Westbrook Invitational. Sirois reached the win mark with a pin against Morse’s Hunter Reed in the 160-pound championship match. The Indians scored 204.5 points and easily out-distanced runner-up Massabesic (137 points) in the 10-team field. Cody Craig (113 pounds), Jon Bell (152) and Logan Stevens (182) also won individual championships.

“I thought the team wrestled great,” said Indians co-head coach Brooks Thompson. “We had a lot of great matches, winning some and losing some. Our goal is to get the best possible matches so we are battle-tested for regionals and states. We saw a lot of great things from our wrestlers but we were also able to expose some weaknesses. That’s not a bad thing this early on in the season. It will allow us to make improvements and get better for when it really counts.”

Cooper Holland (138), Samson Sirois (132), Luke Bolster (145) and Kameron Doucette (170) placed second for the Indians. Holland beat Mt Ararat/Brunswick’s Christian Jensen, a second-place finisher in Class A last season, in the semifinals before dropping a hard-fought 5-4 decision to Mountain Valley’s Ethan Boucher. Boucher was a Class B state champion last season.

Austin Merrill (106), Richard Oberg (120) and Caleb Vautier (285) added to the team point total with third-place finishes.


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