ROCKLAND — The two top wrestling programs from the old Class C division battled for the Class B wrestling state championship Saturday at Oceanside High School.

Foxcroft Academy relied on its strength in the upper weight classes to finish 23 points ahead of Dirigo.

The Ponies went 5 for 7 in the championship round and finished with 146 points. Dirigo was followed by Ellsworth (94.5), Winslow (91), Mountain Valley (79.5) and Oceanside (70.5).

“This goes out to all those guys who doubted us and didn’t believe in us,” Foxcroft Academy Coach Luis Ayala said. “They said ‘you guys are not good enough, you’re class C,’ and we did it today. Our first Class B state championship.”

Foxcroft won five Class C state championships between 2004 and 2013, but the sport was reorganized into two classes prior to this season, so the state’s smaller schools now compete in Class B.

“They’ve been relentless all year,” Ayala said. “They wanted it so badly they really stepped it up.”


Dirigo, which won Class C titles in 2014 and 2015, was within six points of the Ponies going into the championship finals.

Dirigo sent four wrestlers into the finals, and two of them won titles.

Foxcroft, meanwhile, won the four heaviest divisions.

“We were six points (behind) going into the last four matches of the meet,” Dirigo Coach Doug Gilbert said. “They won all four, and that was the difference right there.”

Winning individual championships for the Ponies were Zac Caron at 145, Billy Brock at 182, Brandon Brock at 195, Michael Prentiss at 220 and Connor Holmes at 285.

The Brock brothers and Holmes each pinned all three of their opponents.


“Foxcroft Academy was able to go back-to-back,” Gilbert said. “If you’ve got a good wrestler, the one next to him is going to be pretty good, too.”

“Practice is where it’s at, and these guys busted butts at practice to get to this point,” Ayala said. “They’re going against the toughest kids in the state. They’re making each other better, pushing themselves.”

Holmes won his matches while wrestling with a broken hand – an injury he sustained in practice less than three weeks ago.

“The doctor made a special cast for him and we showed him how to protect himself,” Ayala said. “It shows his character that he never gave up.”

Dirigo’s Griffyn Smith, who pinned all three of his opponents while winning at 113 pounds, was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler. He now has a school-record 191 wins.

“I’ve had some great wrestlers (at Dirigo), and he’s the first four-time state champion,” Gilbert said, “and he’s a great kid.


Dirigo’s Bryce Whittemore won the 152-pound title.

Gilbert said the competition in the expanded Class B meet was a bit tougher than his teams experienced in the old Class C.

“Depth-wise it was a tougher meet,” he said. “Usually, we have two or three kids in a weight class who are fairly close, but the 1 through 4 were good here.”

Ben Ripley, a freshman from Oceanside, scored an upset in the 132-pound weight class with a 3-0 decision over top-seeded R.J. Nelson of Foxcroft.

The previous weekend, Nelson scored a 12-5 decision over Ripley in the championship finals in the Class B North regional in Winslow.

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