Cony sophomore Nick Mills certainly was not expected to win a state championship this season.

He finished just fourth in the Class A North regionals as a freshman last season and was considered a raw talent with excellent strength, but still needed more experience to be a contender for state honors.

“I did not think that I would win a state title at the beginning of this season,” said Mills. “I did think that, if I put in the work, it would be possible to place at the state meet.”

As the season rolled along with Mills competing at both 182 and 195 pounds, the longshot began to look like a possibility.

Mills’ sole loss against a Class A opponent at 182 pounds was to defending state champion, Robert Hetherman of Mt. Ararat, who would later drop down to the 170-pound class.

Mills continued to improve in the practice room.

“I felt I needed to work on my control from the top position and also getting free from bottom position.” Mills said.

The work paid off as no one held him down in the postseason tournaments.

“This championship is the result of a ton of hard work by him all season,” said Cony coach Shawn Totman. “Everything he does is 100 percent. I tell our wrestlers all the time that in this sport nobody gives you anything. You have to go out and earn any success that you may have. Nic’s state championship exemplifies that idea. He earned it every step of the way.”

• • •

Oak Hill senior Danny Buteau (132) accomplished his season goal of winning his fourth Maine state championship and also was named the outstanding wrestler at the Class B tournament.

Buteau opened the tournament with a win by pin over Ellsworth’s Judd Kinney. His semifinals match against Mount View freshman Mark Ward was Buteau’s closest of the day. Buteau scored an early takedown, but then gave up a reversal at the end of the first period to knot the score at 2-2. Buteau would score a reversal of his own later in the match to win a 4-2 decision.

“I don’t think I wrestled my best but the kid is a really good wrestler, especially for a freshman,” said Buteau. “He is going to make some noise when he is older.”

Ward would go on to finish fourth.

Buteau turned in a dominating performance in his championship finals match, beating Foxcroft Academy’s RJ Nelson by a 9-1 major decision.

• • •

Devon Vigue (120) and Ryan Fredette (182) each won individual state titles as Winslow finished third at the Class B state championships. Fredette won his third consecutive state championship, this time with a pin over Dirigo’s Nolan Degroot.

Vigue won his title in more dramatic fashion, upsetting defending state champion Alex Fogarty of Oceanside, 11-6 in the finals. Vigue had lost to Fogarty by an 8-7 decision in the regional finals a week earlier.

“I am very happy for both Devon and Ryan,” said Winslow coach Tony Dalisio. “Winning wrestling matches takes immense preparation, endurance, strength and mental fortitude. But winning state titles takes grit, determination and will. I thought they both demonstrated those qualities to a special degree on Saturday.”

Ben Abbott (195) finished third while Patrick Hopkins (160) was fourth.

• • •

The New England qualifier tournament will happen this Saturday at Marshwood High School in South Berwick. The top four finishers in each weight class in Class A and B are eligible to compete. Top-three finishers in each weight class advance to the New Englands, which will be held in Providence, Rhode Island in March.

Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

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